AirAsia to invest up to $60 million into JV with Tata Sons

KUALA LUMPUR Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:14pm IST

Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes answers a question during a news conference in central Sydney January 6, 2010. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz/Files

Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes answers a question during a news conference in central Sydney January 6, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Daniel Munoz/Files

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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd(AIRA.KL), Asia's biggest budget carrier, will invest between $30 to $60 million into its new airline venture in India, said chief executive Tony Fernandes on a conference call with the media on Wednesday.

The company has sought approval to establish a new airline with unlisted firms Tata Sons Ltd and Telestra Tradeplace Pvt Ltd.

AirAsia, through its investment arm, AirAsia Investment Ltd, intends to own 49 percent of the venture with the remaining stake held by the two Indian firms. The venture plans to operate from Chennai in southern India and provide domestic flight options.

India's aviation industry, which has seen continued losses due to high operating costs and regulatory uncertainty, was opened to foreign investors in September last year.

AirAsia presently flies to four south Indian cities and the eastern city of Kolkata in addition to 20 countries across Asia.

(Reporting By Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah and Yantoultra Ngui; Editing by Niluksi Koswanage)

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