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Tata SIA Airlines flights likely by May-June

Ajit Singh with Ratan Tata at a meeting

The venture to be called as Tata SIA Airlines Ltd and its headquarter would be in Delhi

Ajit Singh with Ratan Tata at a meetingNew Delhi: A day after FIPB cleared the Tata-Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) airline venture, Tata group Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata and SIA chief Goh Choon Phong today met Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh exuding confidence of launching flights by May-June next year.

“We are looking at very fast clearances. We hope that we will be able to launch by May-June,” Tata SIA Airlines Chairman Prasad Menon, who accompanied Tata and Goh, told reporters after the 45-meeting with Singh here.

Maintaining that the entry of Tata-SIA Airlines would benefit the Indian aviation sector, the minister said SIA was globally known for its expertise in technical and managerial matters and was one of the best airlines in the world.

Replying to the clearance queries, Singh said, “I don’t see any problems. DGCA will have to be satisfied. There are issues relating to fleet, parking space, slots and routes. It depends on how fast they (Tata-SIA) provide all those data and documents,” he said.

Complimenting the minister for “opening up the aviation sector in a really global manner”, Tata said “It is our responsibility to make him proud” and the Tata Sons’ airline venture with SIA was “a great opportunity” towards that end.

The meeting came a day after the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) gave its green signal to their proposal to start a full-service airline entailing an initial foreign investment of USD 49 million. Tata Sons will invest USD 100 million in the joint venture.

This is Tatas’ second venture in the aviation sector after its tie-up with Malaysian carrier Air Asia in February for a low-cost passenger air service in the country.

Maintaining that “the new airline will provide premium (full-frill) service”, Tata said that he was excited about FIPB approval and added that a lot of hard work needed to be put in to start the airline.

Yesterday, Tata and Goh had also met Finance Minister P Chidambaram after the FIPB cleared the venture. Aviation industry analysts have welcomed the decision, saying it would send very positive signals to the global investor community.


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