Ratan Tata will not be on the board of AirAsia India, the joint venture between the Tata Group, Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia and Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace, who is a relative of steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.
"Ratan Tata is not on the airline’s board," aviation minister Ajit Singh told Hindustan Times. A Tata Sons spokesperson confirmed that Tata group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata will not sit on AirAsia India board.
Both Bhatia and AirAsia Group chief executive office (CEO) Tony Fernandes have said they would want Tata to be chairman and sit on the board of AirAsia India.
The foreign investment promotion board has cleared AirAsia’s proposal to start a passenger airline in India in partnership with the Tata Group and Bhatia.
"AirAsia has finally given the names of all the foreign directors and we have sent it to the home ministry. After we get the security clearance we will proceed further," Singh said.
On demands from other Gulf countries for allocating more seats following an increase in bilateral allocation to Abu Dhabi, Singh said: "We don’t go by what everyone asks. Emirates is not yet fully utilising there entitlement of 54,000 seats a week."
Singh said the Indian government will consider requests from Gulf countries keeping in view the "passenger growth and how airlines who have been giving these bilateral are using them."
Emirates President Tim Clark had told Hindustan Times last week that their request for more seats had been pending for five years and Etihad getting more seats would comprise the airline’s India plans.