Tata airlines may get a boost

DELHI: As family patriarch Ratan Tata takes back the controls at his Indian conglomerate after a boardroom coup this week, one sector is cheering his, albeit interim, return: the group’s airline ventures, both lagging competitors in India’s cutthroat market.

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

“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 the Tata group.

Vistara and AirAsia India declined to comment.

Tata Sons, the parent controlling Tata’s listed businesses, has said Ratan Tata’s return from retirement is temporary, and denied the move would mean any extra focus on the airlines – other than for business reasons. “Both businesses are completely focused on enhancing their market positions,” a spokesman said.

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


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