TATA, Singapore Airlines plan to start Delhi-based airline

New Delhi, Sept.20 (ANI): India's leading industrial conglomerate, the TATA Group and Singapore Airlines plan to launch a new airline headquartered in New Delhi after getting required approvals from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh revealed this information during an interaction with media persons here.

TATA Sons, the parent company of the TATA Group, is already having a joint venture with Malaysian budget airline AirAsia.

Tata Sons said it will own 51 percent of the carrier and Singapore Airlines will own the remainder.

Singapore Airlines said the initial outlay of 100 million dollars would be funded by the two sides in proportion to their ownership.

India last year allowed foreign airlines to own up to 49 percent in local carriers in an effort to bolster ailing local airlines.

After the rule change, Malaysia's AirAsia and the house of Tatas announced in February a joint venture to launch a low-cost airline in India, while Abu Dhabi's Etihad agreed in April to buy a 24 percent stake in India's Jet Airways.

Singh said that it was for the SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) or the Corporate Affairs Ministry to comment on the new business proposal, and for the FIPB to give its consent.

He, however, did admit that representatives of TATA and Singapore Airlines had called on him to brief him about the proposed project.

Tata Airways, founded by JRD Tata was India's largest airline before the government took it over in 1953 as part of its nationalisation drive following independence from Great Britain, and was renamed Air India.

In 2000, the Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines jointly bid for a stake in Indian Airlines, the state carrier that later merged with Air India, although rules preventing foreign airlines from investing in Indian carriers thwarted this deal. (ANI)

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