DGCA overrules all objections for grant of AOP to Tata-SIA Airlines

Written by Press Trust of India | Mumbai | Updated: Jul 10 2014, 14:06pm hrs
DGCADGCA overruled all the objections raised by Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) over the application of the start-up carrier.
Clearing the decks for grant of air operator permit to Tata-SIA Airlines, aviation regulator DGCA today overruled all the objections raised by Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) over the application of the start-up carrier.

The DGCA said it does not find any reason for not considering the application of Tata-SIA Airlines for grant of scheduled Air Operator Permit (AOP) as the objections raise have not been "able to make out any case against" and were not sustainable.

"I do not find any reason for not considering the application of Tata-SIA Airlines Ltd, for grant of AOP (Scheduled) after the detailed examination of objections or issues raised in the representations... the response of Tata-SIA Airlines Ltd and various rules and other provisions for issuance of Air Operator Permit," Director General Civil Aviation Prabhata Kumar said in a statement.

FIA is the umbrella organisation of the domestic airlines.

"It is, therefore, decided to consider the application of Tata SIA Airlines Ltd for issuance of AOP (Scheduled) subject to the compliance of various requirements in terms of various rules and circulars. However, this decision shall be subject to any interim or final order of the Delhi High Court," he said.

The Tata-SIA Airline, a 51:49 joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, had submitted its application for AOP in April to aviation regulator DGCA.

The AOP would enable it to provide scheduled air transport services in the country.

After receiving the application, the DGCA had in May issued a public notice seeking objections, if any, to grant flying permit to Tata-SIA.

The aviation regulator received six representations through email and in writing. Of these, two were in support of granting of AOP to Tata-SIA Airlines Ltd while two were regarding issues on the norms of hiring of pilots, which had no relation with the issue of grant of AOP.

One of the other two representations was submitted by FIA which were examined in detail.

Based on the objections, the DGCA sought clarifications from Tata-SIA Airlines on June 20 which were received by the regulator on July 2.

Regarding the objection raised by FIA that FDI by foreign airlines was not allowed in the Greenfield airlines, the DGCA said the issue was already examined by the FIPB at the time of allowing 49 per cent equity participation by SIA in Tata-SIA Airlines Ltd.

The other objection was related to the "Substantial Ownership and Effective Control" not being vested in Indian nationals which also raises a grave question in relation to matters of security, and third being the matter being subjudice in the Delhi High Court.

The airline, which would use Airbus 320-200 aircraft and A320-200 (Neo), proposes to start operations by September and plans to operate from Delhi as its hub to Mumbai, Goa, Patna, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Hyderabad and Bangalore in its first year of operations.

Initially, the carrier plans to operate two flights a day to Mumbai, with one of them going further to Goa. The initial phase would also see two flights a day each to Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad.

Besides the major metros, the airline would also connect Srinagar, Patna, Chandigarh and Jammu. Under its aggressive expansion plans, the Tata-SIA Airlines proposes to add destinations like Chennai, Pune, Lucknow, Varanasi, Jaipur, Kolkata, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Indore and Cochin within the first four years of operations.

Tata-SIA has also disclosed its four-year operational plan to the government.

In the first year of operations, it will mount 87 flights a week to 11 destinations. This will be gradually scaled up to 301 flights and 21 destinations in the fourth year of operations.

In its application before the DGCA, the airline said it would initially engage in domestic and eventually launch international air services, apart from cargo handling, renting and leasing (except financial leasing) of aircraft and other services incidental to air transport services.