Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tata tailwind for twin airline ventures

New Delhi: Tata Group's airline ventures are cheering the return - although interim - of family patriarch Ratan Tata as the chairman of the conglomerate.

Industry executives and analysts say they expect loss-making Vistara and AirAsia India, both part-owned by the Tatas, to enjoy fresh cash and expansion plans as low fuel prices and government policy drive a boom in air travel.

"Now he's back. We'll see him taking aggressive steps," said Mark D. Martin, chief executive at Martin Consulting, adding this could include growing other ventures such as Taj Air, a charter company also owned by Tata Group.

Vistara and AirAsia India declined to comment.

Tata Sons, the parent controlling the Tatas' listed businesses, has said Ratan Tata's return from retirement is temporary, and denied the move would mean extra focus on the airlines - other than for business reasons.

But analysts say the move will have a long-term impact, with the family reasserting its influence in the day-to-day operations.

The Tatas agreed to invest an estimated $60 million in the two airlines, mostly into Vistara.

The two airlines have a combined market share of around 5 per cent - dwarfed by more established carriers such as InterGlobe Aviation's budget airline IndiGo.
29/10/16 Telegraph
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