The Tata-Singapore Airlines (SIA) combine is confident of launching operations of their proposed full-service passenger airline by mid-2014.
Former Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata and SIA chief Goh Choon Phong met aviation minister Ajit Singh on Friday. "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 was also present during the meeting.
Tata-SIA was granted approval by the foreign investment promotion board in just over a month's time.
Tata complimented the aviation minister for "opening up the aviation sector in a really global manner". It is our responsibility to make him proud and the Tata Sons' airline venture with SIA was a great opportunity towards that end, he said.
"The aviation ministry NoC can be expected within three months and final regulatory approval by February or March. We expect Tata-SIA to start operations by either quarter 1 or quarter 3 of next fiscal," said Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of aviation consultancy firm Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.
Singh said Tata-SIA will have to satisfy the DGCA. "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.
"There is no confusion within AirAsia India. I am not aware of any such thing," Tata said when asked about comments made by Arun Bhatia of Telstra Tradeplace, a promoter of AirAsia India. Bhatia had said he was shocked to hear about the Tata-SIA venture. AirAsia India is joint venture between Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia, Tata Group and Bhatia.
AirAsia India, which has applied for an operator's permit with the DGCA, is likely to start operations by January. "If everything goes well, we will commence operations by December or January," AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya was quoted as having said in Chennai on Friday.
"We expect AirAsia India to get the final regulatory approval by December and to start operations by January 14," said Kaul.