Tatas-SIA flights likely by May-June

Tatas-SIA flights likely by May-June

The proposed airline venture of the Tatas and Singapore Airlines (SIA) is likely to be launched by May-June next year, with the two companies today expressing hopes of getting quick governmental clearances for the new carrier.

"We are looking at very fast clearances. We hope that we will be able to launch by May-June," said Tata SIA Chairman Prasad Menon, who accompanied Tata Group Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata and SIA chief Goh Choon Phong for a meeting with Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh here.

Maintaining that the entry of Tata-SIA would benefit the Indian aviation sector, the minister said he did not see any problems in the proposed carrier getting clearances.

"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," Singh said.

The meeting came a day after the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) gave its green signal to the Tata-SIA proposal to start a full-service airline entailing an initial foreign investment of USD 49 million. Tata Sons will invest USD 51 million in the joint venture.

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.

This is the 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 he was excited about FIPB approval and added that a lot of hard work needed to be put in to launch the carrier.

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