With their application for the launch of a new low-cost airline pending before Civil Aviation Ministry, Ratan Tata and AirAsia Group chief Tony Fernandes on Tuesday met Minister Ajit Singh and briefed him about the latest appointments and other developments in the proposed airline.
"We came to apprise the Minister about the developments that have taken place (since FIPB cleared their proposal) and our visit to Chennai (headquarters of the proposed airline)," Fernandes told reporters after a 30-minute meeting with Singh at his official residence here.
Fernandes was accompanied by the new AirAsia India Ceo Mittu Chandilya.
Singh said the group has applied to the Civil Aviation Ministry for a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) and given the names of all top new appointees for security clearance to the Union Home Ministry, as per the laid down regulations.
"They are working on that. When they get security clearance, they will apply to the DGCA (for flying permit). I don't expect that it will take too long," the Minister said.
Over four months ago the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) cleared a proposal for the setting up of a new airline, AirAsia India, by Malaysian carrier AirAsia which has joined hands with the Tata Group and Arun Bhatia of Telestra TradePlace in a 49:30:21 joint venture partnership.
Replying to questions, Tata said, "This is a different type of enterprise which Fernandes is bringing. Hopefully, it will spread air travel across India and give a new dimension (to the aviation sector). The Tata Group is pleased to be associated with it."
Asked why the Tatas did not venture into the aviation sector earlier, he said, "We didn't come earlier because we chose to stay out."