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Rediff.com  » Business » Tata-Singapore Airlines set to fly with new brand name

Tata-Singapore Airlines set to fly with new brand name

July 16, 2014 09:53 IST

Tata-Singapore Airlines set to fly with new brand name

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Sharmistha Mukherjee and Surajeet Das Gupta in New Delhi

Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, which have partnered to launch a full-service airline in India by October, are going to unveil a new brand identity for their proposed carrier next month.

The new name would not have the Tata or the SIA name, confirmed a spokesperson.

The new identity is in line with Singapore Airlines’ strategy.

It has preferred to give new brand names to the two other carriers it controls -- SilkAir for regional routes and Scoot for its low-cost alternative.

It also has an equity stake in Tiger Airways, another low-cost carrier.

The Tata Group also has independent brands -- such as Westside for apparel retail, Titan for watches and Tanishq for jewellery.

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Image: A Singapore Airlines aircraft.
Photographs: Courtesy, SIA

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Group firms which use the Tata name pay annual royalty of 0.25 per cent of their respective revenues to Tata Sons, the holding company.

The new airline brand name is expected to be announced in the first half of next month. The airline would have one aircraft in India by early September and launch operations latest by October.

The plan is to begin services in five cities and go up to 11 within a year of operations. The airline will have 87 weekly flights.

These will link Delhi with Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Srinagar, Patna and Chandigarh.

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Image: Commerce Minister Anand Sharma (R) shakes hands with Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIA) Chief Executive Officer Goh Choon Phong as Tata Group Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata (C) looks on.
Photographs: Reuters

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Tata-Singapore Airlines set to fly with new brand name

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Sources in the know say the airline will mainly have a business- and economy-class configuration.

It might have an additional product offering, between the two.

Commencement of operations needs approval of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which is in the process of examining the application for an air operator’s permit.

Last week, the regulator dismissed objections from the Federation of Indian Airlines against granting an AOP to Tata-SIA.

The approval for an AOP, if and when granted by DGCA, would be subject to the interim/final order of the high court here.

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Image: A view of inside the first-class twin cabin section of the Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 in Toulouse, France.
Photographs: Pascal Parrot/Getty Images

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A hearing is scheduled on September 12 against allowing foreign direct investment in new airlines in India.

A senior DGCA official said: “Tata-SIA is in the process of completing the paperwork required for grant of an AOP.

“After this, the airline will have to demonstrate its preparedness for flying commercially.

“It will take time to complete all procedures but if all requirements are met, they should receive the permit before scheduled launch of operations in September/October.”

DGCA got six responses to the public notice it issued on May 6, seeking comments prior to granting an AOP to Tata-SIA.

There were two broad objections against it getting an AOP.

The first objection was over allowing FDI in airline start-ups.

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Image: A stewardess posing for a photo in the business class cabin Airbus A380 superjumbo after it landed in Singapore.
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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Tata-Singapore Airlines set to fly with new brand name

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“The issue is before the Delhi High Court.

“The Foreign Investment Promotion Board has clarified that FDI will be permitted in greenfield (new) airlines.

It was not in our jurisdiction to decide on the issue,” a senior DGCA official said while dismissing objections against the proposed airline.

The second set of objections was on ownership and control of the airline remaining in Indian hands.

“Tata-SIA has said the chairman of the airline will always be an Indian and be appointed by Tata Sons.

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Image: An Airbus A380 jet of Singapore Airlines takes off.
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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“They have also assured us that even if the board is reconstituted in future, two-thirds of the directors will be Indians appointed by Tata Sons.

“Effective control will, therefore, remain in Indian hands,” said another official who did not wish to be named.

Tata-SIA Airlines is headquartered in Delhi and has a three-member board.

Two are Indians -- chairman Prasad Menon and director Mukund Rajan.

The other director, Mak Swee Wah, is a citizen of Singapore.

Tata Sons had announced its partnership with Singapore Airlines on September 19, 2013, to launch a full-service airline in India with an initial investment of $100 million.

Tata Sons holds a 51 per cent stake and SIA the rest.

The airline has made Delhi its operational hub because of capacity constraints at the Mumbai airport.

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Image: A Singapore Airlines aircraft.
Photographs: Jean-PhilippeArles/Reuters

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Tata-SIA has said it would like to operate international flights from India.

Government rules do not allow domestic airlines less than five years in operations and with a fleet of less than 20 aircraft to do so.

What’s in a name

  • The new airline’s brand name is expected to be announced in the first half of next month
  • The airline, which will have one aircraft in India by early September, will launch operations by October
  • The plan is to begin services in five cities and expand operations to 11 in a year
  • Tata Sons had announced its partnership with Singapore Airlines in Sep 2013 to launch a full-service airline in India

Image: A Singapore Airlines stewardess poses at a first class cabin seat during the launch of their new generation of cabin products at Changi Airport in Singapore.
Photographs: Edgar Su/Reuters

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