Malaysian budget airline AirAsia moved a step closer to securing permission to launch operations in India, with Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Monday saying that all issues concerning the carrier's application have been resolved.
"All matters on AirAsia India have been resolved. The proposal has been sent to the Union Home Ministry for security clearance," Singh said. "Once the Home Ministry nod comes, Civil Aviation Ministry will give its clearance," the Minister said in response to questions.
AirAsia had in late February announced a 49:30:21 joint venture with Tata Sons and Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace to launch the airline in the country, headquartered in Chennai.
The government had in early April cleared AirAsia's proposal to invest Rs 80.98 crore (Rs 809.8 million) in AirAsia India, marking the clearance of the project's first step before seeking a licence to fly.
Following this, the company on April 23 submitted an application to the Civil Aviation Ministry for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to launch flight operations in the country.
It planned to launch operations with a few aircraft and proposes to bring in 37 planes in next five years. It also submitted the names of the Directors on its Board and the CEO, management consultant Mittu Chandilya. Security clearance for all these persons has to be granted by the Union Home Ministry now.
The joint venture company is likely to have at least six members on its Board, comprising two nominees each from AirAsia and Tata Sons and one representative from Telestra Tradeplace. There would be an independent director on the board who would also be the non-executive chairman.
Tata Sons has nominated R Venkatraman, former executive assistant to Ratan Tata, and Bharat Vasani, the chief legal counsel of the Tata Group, on the Board.
AirAsia would be represented by CEO Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Bin Meranun, who are among the largest shareholders in AirAsia Bhd, while Arun Bhatia would represent Telstra Tradeplace on the Board of the newly formed venture.