CCI may look into Tata's airline JVs with SIA, Air Asia

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday said it would look into the Tata Group's proposed airline ventures with Singapore Airlines and Air Asia if it found the two entities gaining market share operating in the same space.

However, the CCI chairman Ashok Chawla said, the commission was not looking at these ventures at the moment because they are proposed to be operating in separate segments.

"If they are going to have some division or if they are not encroaching onto the same market or competing each other, there is no issue," Chawla said on Friday.

"These are new investments, so they haven't come to us. We are not really familiar with what these two entities are going to do, at this stage. But they are going to operate in separate markets.

"If there are issues where the same entities are operating in the same space and they are getting big, we shall see...But at this stage we have no idea," he said.

Chawla was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a FICCI conference on capital markets.

The Tata Group has formed two separate joint ventures – one with Malaysia-based AirAsia to launch a low-cost airline and the other with Singapore Airlines (SIA) to form a full service airline.

The Tata Group has formed a three-way joint venture with AirAsia and Telestra Tradeplace to launch a low-cost carrier, AirAsia India. The Malaysian carrier will own 49 per cent in the JV with Tata owning 30 per cent and Telestra Tradeplace owning the remaining 21 per cent.

In the full service venture, Tata-SIA Airlines, Tata Sons will own 51 per cent and Singapore Airlines 49 per cent. The two have committed to jointly invest $100 million initially to set up the airline with Tata investing $51 million.

While AirAsia India is slated for launch soon, Tata-SIA Airlines is planning a June-July 2014 launch.

CCI since its formation 2-1/2 years ago, has investigated about 120 cases, Chawla said.