AirAsia India, the joint venture between AirAsia and Tata Group, is closer to starting its operations in India. The aviation regulator today issued air operator permit to the airline.
Delhi-based Arun Bhatia of Telstra Tradeplace is also a partner in the joint venture.
However, it could be sometime before the airline actually takes off. Public interest litigation is pending before the Delhi High Court over granting of approvals to AirAsia India, though the court has denied an interim stay on the matter.
Besides, earlier this week BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had urged the Election Commission to restrain India’s aviation regulator from giving flying licences to AirAsia’s venture till a new government takes over.
In a memorandum presented to Chief Election Commissioner, he said, “My information is that the Ministry of Civil Aviation is unaware of the principle laid down by the Election Commission in enforcing the model code, that is, no administrative or policy decision impacting the benefits accruable to any section of the society, should not be cleared if there is no operational urgency in the matter.”
Besides Mr Swamy, the Federation of Indian Airlines has filed two separate petitions in the court challenging the approvals granted to the Tata-AirAsia and Tata-SIA Airlines deals respectively. Tata-SIA Airlines is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines (SIA).
AirAsia plans to operate a fleet of Airbus A320-200 aircraft, initially with 4-5 planes and quickly expand to 10 in a year.