Tata-SIA Airlines hopes to start flying in September-October

Tata Group's airline venture with Singapore Airlines, Tata-SIA Airlines Ltd, today said the process of getting a flying licence, or Air Operator Permit (AOP) is on and a licence could be issued in the next two or three months.

The airlines expressed "satisfaction" over the progress made by the aviation sector regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in issuing the flying licence.

"The AOP exercise is progressing well and we are expecting to launch the full service airlines' domestic service in September- October," S Varadarajan, chief human resource officer and chief of corporate affairs of the airline, said in Jamshedpur.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 'HR Conclave 2014', organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Varadarajan said Tata-SIA has shared all relevant issues, including the route network plan of the company with the DGCA, and was awaiting the AOP.

Varadarajan, however, refused to comment on the airline's proposed route network, saying the network wing was taking care of it.

However, documents submitted to aviation regulator DGCA showed, the airline plans to begin services in five cities and go up to 11 within a year of operations. The airline would have 87 weekly flights, linking Delhi with Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Srinagar, Patna and Chandigarh.

He said Tata-SIA would procure four to five aircraft by end of March next year and enhance the procurement to 20 over next few years.

Tata-SIA Airlines, a 51:49 joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, is also yet to fomalise a brand name.

The DGCA approval for the airline would also be contingent on the orders of the Delhi High Court in a case challenging foreign direct investment in new Indian carriers.

DGCA had recently dismissed objections from the Federation of Indian Airlines against granting of SOP to Tata-SIA Airline.