Ratan Tata to be AirAsia India chief advisor


Ratan Tata
NEW DELHI: Tata Group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata will be the chief advisor to the board of AirAsia India, a joint venture between the group, the Malaysian low cost carrier and Telstra Tradeplace. AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes made this announcement on Sunday and said the soon-to-be-launched Indian subsidiary’s chairman would also be a “towering man”.

“I am pleased to announce Ratan Tata as the chief advisor to the board of AirAsia India. A legend in every sense. Building a powerful team… 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 (the CEO) and myself,” Tony Fernandes tweeted. 

Fernandes was asked on twitter if AirAsia India — which has the Tata Group as a partner and Ratan Tata as chief adviser — would offer “Nano (cheapest) fares and he said: “Yes it’s all about low fares. And everyday.” Fernandes and other key people in AirAsia India were very keen to have Ratan Tata as the chairman given that fact that he is a keen aviator himself (Tata holds a pilot’s licence) and had witnessed JRD Tata’s close association with Air India.

About the chairman, Fernandes said: “Our chairman is someone who has redefined many parts of India. A towering man who brings unbelievable experience to the AirAsia India board… AirAsia India shaping up brilliantly. Super CEO. Some great staff. A good board and now great advisor.”The foreign investment promotion board had in April cleared AirAsia’s proposal to invest Rs 81 crore in the joint venture. AirAsia has 49% in the proposed new carrier, Tatas have 30% and 21% is with Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace.

Tata Sons has nominated R Venkatraman, former executive assistant to Ratan Tata, and Bharat Vasani, chief legal counsel of Tata Group, on the board. AirAsia is going to be represented by Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Bin Meranun, one of the largest shareholders in AirAsia. Arun Bhatia will represent Telstra Tradeplace on AirAsia India’s board.

AirAsia India is expected to be launched in coming months with aviation minister Ajit Singh recently saying that there are no hurdles in its way and that the final nod will be given as soon as the home ministry gives its security clearance. Fernandes had recently appointed a Singapore-based management consultant of Indian origin, Mittu Chandilya, as its CEO.


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