DGCA hastens grant of licence to Tata-SIA as FIA takes AirAsia issue to court

The government and the civil aviation authorities are speeding up the process of issuing the air operator permit (flying licence) to a second airline joint venture, after domestic carriers moved the Delhi High Court against the issue of a flying licence to AirAsia India, a joint venture of Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia with the Tata Group and Telestra Tradeplace.

The Delhi High Court will start hearing on a petition filed by the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) challenging the grant of flying licence to AirAsia India by aviation regulator DGCA.

The DGCA, on the other hand, is moving fast to issue a similar licence to another Tata joint venture with Singapore Airlines, Tata-SIA, and has invited public comments on the issue of a flying licence to the airline JV.

The petition alleged that the grant of Air Operator's Permit (or flying licence) to the new airline by DGCA was in "complete defiance of this court's order as the matter is sub-judice".

In its interim application, the FIA also sought a direction to DGCA to restrain AirAsia from commencing its scheduled air transport operations during the pendency of the petition.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw posted the matter for hearing tomorrow.

FIA has filed a separate petition challenging the approval being granted to Tata-SIA Airlines deals as well.

The high court has constituted a special bench to hear pleas seeking quashing of approvals being granted by the Centre to the $30 million deal between Tata Sons and AirAsia, which was yesterday granted a flying licence by DGCA.

Simultaneously, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has moved the Election Commission urging it to put on hold the issuance of air operator's permit issued to AirAsia India by the DGCA.

Swamy alleged that the grant of the flying licence is in "violation" of rules and that it has been done in disregard of his complaint to the Election Commission.