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AirAsia India allowed to import 10 aircraft over the next year

Date 13-December-2013
Subject AirAsia India allowed to import 10 aircraft over the next year

NEW DELHI: AirAsia India has received permission from the Ministry of Civil Aviation to import aircraft. This is seen as a step closer for the tripartite joint venture between Tata Sons, Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia and Arun Bhatia's Telestra Tradeplace to securing an air operator's permit.

Persons in the know at the civil aviation ministry said the airline has been allowed to import 10 aircraft over the next year. This includes the three aircraft that came with the no-objection certificate AirAsia India received in September.

The import permission is required before the Directorate General of Civil Aviation can issue an air operator's permit. DGCA officials will also evaluate AirAsia's training facilities in Malaysia later this month.

One of the officials in the know said the airline is expected to bag the permit in January. "But after this, they will need to go to airport operators for slots and route clearances. So, realistically, AirAsia India will only take to the skies by end of March 2014, which is also when the summer schedule begins," the official added.

When contacted by ET, AirAsia India confirmed the development but added, "We would only like to comment on launch of operations once we get the air operator's permit." Last month, DGCA director general Arun Mishra said they would be able to give the permit to AirAsia India by January, next year.

The tripartite joint venture has 49% ownership by AirAsia, 30% by Tata Sons and 21% by Arun Bhatia.

AirAsia's investment proposal received the clearance of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board in March and it received the no-objection certificate by the Civil Aviation Ministry in September. The airline had applied for an NoC in early July.

Already, the airline's initial launch plans have been delayed. At the time of forming the venture in February 2013, AirAsia's group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said that the airline would aim to launch the airline by the fourth quarter of the calendar year 2013.

The airline's chief executive officer is Mittu Chandilya and in June the airline appointed Ratan Tata as the chief advisor to the board while roping in S Ramadorai as the executive chairman. The airline initially plans to operate out of Chennai connecting Tier II and III cities of India.

AirAsia India had already completed the hiring of 300 people for starting the operations which also paved the way for the permission of the aircraft import to be granted.

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