- POSTED: 09 Jan 2014 19:37
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Singapore Airlines has decided to lease 20 Airbus A320s for the launch of its Indian carrier, a joint venture with the giant Tata Group, the new company confirmed on Thursday.
MUMBAI: Singapore Airlines has decided to lease 20 Airbus A320s for the launch of its Indian carrier, a joint venture with the giant Tata Group, the new company confirmed on Thursday.
Singapore Airlines chose the A320s over Boeing's 737s and will source the 20 planes from leasing companies rather than buying direct from Airbus, a Tata SIA Airlines spokesman told AFP.
"It's going to be an Airbus A320 fleet. The aircraft will be on lease," spokesman Sanjay Singh said in an emailed statement.
Singh did not disclose the cost of the lease arrangements, which were sealed some 10 days ago, but media reports put the deal at US$1.8 billion.
The new airline will likely start flying around July after it gains regulatory approval in India, the spokesman said.
Indian tea-to-steel conglomerate Tata will hold a 51 per cent stake and Singapore Airlines Ltd 49 per cent in the new venture, announced in September, as they seek to exploit one of the world's fastest-growing aviation markets.
The airline, which will have an initial combined investment of US$100 million from the two stakeholders, marks the third foreign direct investment in the Indian sector since the government declared last year that international airlines could buy as much as 49 per cent of local carriers.
The Tata Group is setting up another airline venture in India with Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia, which is expected to start operations early this year.
In November, India's Jet Airways said it had completed the sale of a 24-per-cent stake to Abu Dhabi's Etihad.
India's aviation sector was once celebrated as a sign of the country's vibrant economy.
Its fortunes faded owing to a range of obstacles ranging from aggressive fare rivalry and rundown infrastructure to expensive fuel, but there is now renewed interest as investors eye the nation's vast aviation market and growing middle class.