Air Asia India, Tata-SIA will compete 'constructively': Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata, the former chairman of Tata Sons, said in Bangalore today that the two new airlines in which the Tata group is a major partner – Air Asia India and Tata-SIA – will compete with each other, but will do so ''constructively''.

Tata, who remains an adviser to the AirAsia India board, made an unexpected appearance at the AirAsia press conference to officially launch the airline's Bangalore operations.

The Tata Group has joined hands with AirAsia Group Bhd of Malaysia to float low-cost Air Asia India, and with Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIA) for a full-service airline. AirAsia and the Tata group have already made clear that the two airlines will operate in different spaces.

Ratan Tata, who retired as Tata Sons Ltd chairman in December 2012, said, ''There is place for both a budget airlines like AirAsia India and a full-service airline like Tata-SIA. There is a huge market to allow both segments to compete.''

Arun Bhatia, whose Telestra Tradeplace Pvt Ltd is one of the partners in Air Asia India, had earlier said that it was unethical for the Tata Group to enter two joint ventures at the same time. Bhatia was not present at today's conference.