Tata-SIA flights likely to take off in May-June

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Summary* Companies express hope of getting quick govt clearances

The Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture, which got the FIPB nod on Thursday, expects to start operations in May-June next year, officials from the newly formed joint venture said on Friday after meeting civil aviation minister Ajit Singh.

“We are looking at very quick clearances. We hope that we will be able to launch by May-June,” said Tata SIA Airlines chairman Prasad Menon, who accompanied Ratan Tata, Tata Group’s chairman emeritus and Singapore Airlines’ chief executive officer Goh Choon Phong.

Meanwhile, Singh said that he doesn’t see any problems to the airline getting clearances. “DGCA will have to be satisfied and the pace of clearances depends on how fast Tata-SIA can provide all the data and documents,” the minister said.

Earlier in the day, Ratan Tata, Goh Choon Phong and Prasad Menon also met commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma.

“It was a courtesy call and Tata wanted to thank the minister similar to what he did with the finance minister yesterday,” said an official. On Thursday, Tata along with Phong had also met finance minister P Chidambaram after the FIPB cleared the venture.

While Phong said he looked forward to the collaboration, Sharma said that the country has a welcoming investment climate and the opening up of the civil aviation sector shows that India has a liberal policy.

“We look forward to greater collaborative partnership to infuse competition which is good for the consumers,” Sharma is said to have told Tata in the meeting.

Group holding company Tata Sons will hold 51% stake in the airline Tata SIA Airlines, while Singapore Airlines will hold the remaining through an initial $49-million investment. This is the third attempt by Tatas and SIA to enter Indian skies.

Meanwhile, Ratan Tata on Friday expressed interest in the possibility of privatisation of Air India, saying he would be very happy to look at it whenever it happened.

AirAsia India sees no conflict of interest

Chennai, Oct 25: AirAsia India sees no conflict of interest in Tata Sons joining hands with Singapore Airlines to run a full-service airline in India. Its CEO Mittu Chandilya on Friday said there may not be any impact on his company on account of this.

“We have an entirely separate board and there is no conflict of interest from my perspective,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event here on Friday.

AirAsia is bracing up to meet a December -January deadline to kick off

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