NEW DELHI: The Tata Group is hiking its stake in AirAsia India (AAIPL) from 51% to 83.67%. Tony Fernandes’ AirAsia group will have its stake reduced in this JV from 49% to 16.33%, accordingly.
Comments have been sought from Tatas and AAIPL and are awaited.
The transaction puts Tata Group firmly in command with the budget carrier which is going to be its bid vehicle for Air India. Tata’s other airline partner, Singapore Airlines (SIA), with whom they run the full service JV Vistara, is yet to agree on the Air India bid due to its own financial challenges in the pandemic.
Sources say all attempts will be made to bring SIA on board for the AI venture at a later date due to its proven credentials as a long haul airline.
After Jet Airways’ grounding nearly two years ago, AI is the only Indian carrier that operates ultra long and long haul nonstops between India and North America, Europe, Far East and Australia. Vistara started London flights some months back.
One of AI’s biggest strengths is its long haul network that its new owners can operate from Day One of taking over. And that is where SIA’s expertise will come in handy for making the Maharaja Gambit pay off for the Tatas, the founder of AI.