Tata Sons, Singapore Airlines JV to lease 20 A-320s to launch India flights

Written by PTI | Doha | Updated: Jun 4 2014, 14:07pm hrs
TataThe AOP would enable it to provide scheduled air transport services in the country.
Start-up carrier Tata-SIA Airlines, which is yet to get a flying permit, will acquire at least 20 Airbus aircraft on lease from a Singapore-based firm to launch their operations in India by this winter.

"Tata-SIA has placed orders for leasing of 20 Airbus A-320s from us," Claire Leow, Head of Investor Relations of BOC Aviation Private Limited, told PTI on the sidelines of the ongoing IATA annual general meeting here.

She said the deliveries of these aircraft are likely to start from the third quarter of this year "around September-October". BOC Aviation has already leased several aircraft to two Indian airlines -- Jet Airways and SpiceJet.

Full-service airline Tata-SIA, a 51:49 joint venture of Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, submitted its application for the grant of Air Operator's Permit (AOP or flying license) in April. The AOP would enable it to provide scheduled air transport services in the country.

The airline, which would use A 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 Bengaluru 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 proposed 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 filing before the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the airline said it would initially engage in domestic and eventually launch international air services, apart from doing cargo handling, renting and leasing (except financial leasing) of aircraft and other services incidental to air transport services.

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

A similar notice was earlier issued under the Aircraft Rules of 1937 to AirAsia India. The license was granted to AirAsia India after the regulator rejected the objections raised primarily by the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

Swamy and FIA had moved the courts where the matter is still pending.

The Delhi High Court last week had sought replies from Tata-SIA and the government on a plea filed by FIA seeking stay on the commencement of scheduled air operations by the proposed airline. The court had dismissed the plea, saying there was no urgency as the permit would be subject to the outcome of the petition challenging the approvals. The matter is slated to come up for hearing again on July 11.