Both JRD Tata and his chosen successor Ratan Tata dreamed of giving the Tata group a presence in the country’s aviation sector. It finally fell upon Cyrus Mistry to give their dreams dimensions of reality. And how! In less than a year, Mistry oversaw the group’s two high-profile aviation deals. First was the Tata Sons-Air Asia joint venture (JV) for a low-cost carrier, quickly followed by another JV deal with Singapore Airlines for a full-service airline. Now awaiting various regulatory approvals, the two proposed airlines are expected to prove to be game-changers in the struggling aviation industry.
When the government opened up the aviation sector to 49% foreign direct investment or FDI, Mistry wasted no time to get cracking. “Tatas quickly grabbed the opportunity. Mistry’s strategy is to increase Tata’s footprint in sectors opened up by the government,” said an industry expert. Thus, defence and aerospace have been identified as key focus areas for the Tata Group. “It remains to be seen how Tatas will perform in these sectors. Aviation is challenging and government policies are wobbly,” said the expert.