New Delhi, Sept. 25: Tatas' aviation aspirations are soaring. After forming separate joint ventures to launch airlines with AirAsia and Singapore International Airlines (SIA), Tata Sons is getting ready to take part in the city side developments of Chennai and Calcutta airports.
The government recently said it was open to giving the entire 100 per cent stake in six airports, including Calcutta and Chennai, to private players for city side operations as it was not interested in holding “unnecessary equity”.
According to sources in the civil aviation ministry, the government will soon issue request for qualification (RFQ) documents for Chennai and Lucknow airports. RFQs for the other four — Jodhpur, Guwahati, Ahmedabad and Calcutta — will be issued in the next few weeks.
According to sources, the Tatas are planning to get into maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) later. Though the company is tight-lipped about its interests in bidding for the Chennai and Calcutta airports, industry insiders believe the move will help the conglomerate to consolidate its expansion plans in aviation.
Sources said the Tatas might pitch for a Rs 2,800-crore brownfield expansion ofthese two airports. This would include metro connectivity and the construction of additional terminals.
Sources at GMR, which looks after Delhi International Airport, said they might also bid for the projects.
Meanwhile, pitching for its airline joint venture with Singapore Airlines (SIA), Tata Sons today said the new entity would not only generate employment but also boost foreign investor confidence.
The Tatas last week joined hands with SIA to form a full-service airline.
The two sides have signed a memorandum of understanding and have applied to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board for permission to bring in $49 million of foreign direct investment.
The airline will be based in New Delhi. Tata Sons will own 51 per cent and Singapore Airlines 49 per cent. The airline will have three members on its board initially — two nominated by Tata Sons and one by Singapore Airlines. The chairman is Prasad Menon, a Tata Sons nominee.
“The brand SIA is recognised worldwide and its expansion in India will signal the ability of the country to attract leading names from the international circuit to benefit the Indian market and customers,” the two partners said in a statement.
In its application to the FIPB, the two groups had also emphasised that the investment from SIA and operations of the proposed joint venture would have the potential for significant foreign exchange earnings in India.