Tata Sons, Singapore Airlines to launch new carrier

Mumbai, Sep 19 (IANS) After waiting in the wings for nearly a quarter of a century, Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines have revived their proposal to set up a new world-class joint venture airline based in India.

The two companies, in a joint statement here Thursday, said they had signed a memorandum of understanding to launch a new full-service private carrier.

They have also applied for Foreign Investment Promotion Board approval for the new airline of which Tata Sons will own 51 percent and Singapore Airlines 49 percent.

After securing the FIPB and other regulatory approvals, the new airline will be based in New Delhi and help further stimulate demand for air travel.

The initial board of directors will have three members, including two nominated by Tata Sons and one nominated by Singapore Airlines.

Tata Sons nominee Prasad Menon will be the chairman of the new proposed joint venture airline.

"It is the Tata Sons' evaluation that civil aviation in India offers sustainable growth potential. We now have the opportunity to launch a world-class full-serve airline in India," Menon said of the proposed venture.

"We have always been a strong believer in the growth potential of India's aviation sector and are excited about the opportunity to partner Tatas Ons in contributing to the future expansion of the market," said Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong.

According to Goh, Tata Sons is one of the most established and respected names in India.

"With the recent liberalization, the time is right to jointly bring consumers a fresh new option for full-service air travel. We are confident that the joint venture airline will help to stimulate market demand and provide economic benefits to India," he said.

The companies will announce details of the airline's branding, management team, products and services in due course.

The Tata Group had attempted to start an airline in collaboration with Singapore Airlines was back in the early 1990s, but its proposal lay in cold storage for years due to various reasons.

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