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DGCA clears flight path for Tata-SIA

Thursday, 10 July 2014 - 7:35am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Dismisses objections against granting it air operator's permit

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday dismissed all objections for granting air operator's permit (AOP) to Tata-Singapore Airlines (SIA).

The 51:49 joint venture between Tata Sons and SIA is expected to begin its operations by September/October. The JV got an approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in October last year, and is awaiting AOP for launching a full-service carrier.

As per the provision of Aircraft Rules, a public notice was issued in May by DGCA, inviting objections/suggestions from public regarding the grant of permit to Tata-SIA.

DGCA in a notice on Wednesday said, "A total of six representations were received through email/in writing, which included representations submitted by the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) and Mr Jain objecting the grant of AOP."

As per the notice, the objections were raised on issues pertaining to: "FDI is not permitted in greenfield airlines as per the applicable FDI Policy as the said policy was devised to inject funds in the 'existing' cash starved domestic airline companies" and "the substantial ownership and effective control does not vest in Indian nationals which is a fundamental requirement of the Schedule XI of the Aircraft Rules which also raises a grave question in relation to matters of security".

The issue related to allowing FDI by foreign airlines in the greenfield airlines is challenged by the FIA in the Delhi High Court, which is sub-judice.

"After the detailed examination of objections/issues raised in the representations, the response of Tata-SIA, and various rules and other provisions for issuance of AOP, I am of the view that the representationists have not been able to make out any case against Tata SIA Airlines Ltd, for refusing to consider its application for the grant of AOP (scheduled)," said the DGCA notice.

Tata-SIA is already gearing up for its entry into Indian skies with plans to start the operations by September this year, subject to the grant of AOP. The airline currently is in the process of hiring pilots, cabin crew and engineering personnel.


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