On the day the Tata-Singapore International Airlines joint venture was announced, director-designate of the proposed airline Mukund Rajan told Mihir Mishra that the JV is not in conflict with the other alliance the Tata Group has with AirAsia. Excerpts:
In December 2012, Ratan Tata had said that he would hesitate to enter the aviation business. Today the group has announced yet another joint venture. What has changed since then?
Two key things have changed. First, greenfield airlines were allowed under foreign direct investment norms and we got a partner in Singapore Airlines, which is considered as one of the best airlines in the world.
Between the two, who approached whom?
We were approached by SIA with a proposal to start an airline in the country.
Your group also owns 30 per cent stake in AirAsia India. Was Tony Fernandes in the know about this deal?
Singapore Airlines investment is not in conflict with our earlier investment in AirAsia India. All our partners in AirAsia India were aware of our talks with SIA and they have been very supportive in their approach.
Will Tata Group’s representation in AirAsia change with the deal?
Our ownership and representation on the board of AirAsia India will remain the same.