statesman news service
NEW DELHI, 16 JUNE: Low-cost carrier AirAsia today announced that Mr Ratan Tata (in photo) will be their chief advisor on the board of its Indian venture. It also promised “Nano” airfares once it begins operating flights in the country.
Announcing Mr Tata&’s name as the chief advisor, Malaysia-based AirAsia chief Mr Tony Fernandes also said that the name of the chairman for AirAsia India board would also soon be disclosed.
“Persuading Mr Tata to be advisor has not been easy. Critical, we have someone of his massive experience to help me chart AirAsia India with Mittu (Chandilya) and myself,” Mr Fernandes announced on micro-blogging site Twitter.
Asked whether to expect "Nano" price or cheapest air tickets from AirAsia India, Mr Fernandes replied in affirmative: “Yes. It&’s all about low fares. And everyday.”
Mr Ratan Tata, who retired as head of Tata Group in December last year, is believed to be the main force behind the launch of the airline.
He also surprised the automobile market with the launch of the world&’s cheapest car Nano. It was launched by the group at an initial price tag of Rs 1 lakh.
Mr Fernandes said that the chairman&’s name would be announced shortly. “AirAsia India (is) shaping up brilliantly,” he said, while adding that the company has got a “super CEO”, a good board and a great advisor who was “a legend in every sense”.
AirAsia has named Mr Mittu Chandilya as the CEO of its Indian venture, where other stakeholders include Tata Group and Telestra Tradeplace.
Mr Fernandes, along with Tata Sons and Mr Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace, has formed the 49:30:21 joint venture to launch the airline, which will be headquartered in Chennai.
The announcement comes within a few days of civil aviation minister Mr Ajit Singh saying that all the issues regarding AirAsia’s India operations have been resolved.
“All matters on AirAsia India have been resolved. The proposal has been sent to the Union home ministry for security clearance,” he had said in London.
As for the organisational structure, there will be an independent director on the board who would also be the non-executive chairman.
Tata Sons has nominated Mr R Venkatraman, former executive assistant to Mr Ratan Tata and Mr Bharat Vasani, the chief legal counsel of the Tata Group, on the board.
AirAsia will be represented by Mr Tony Fernandes and Mr Kamarudin Bin Meranun.