AirAsia today revealed it had appointed ex-chairman of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata, as chief advisor to its India board.
"I am pleased to announce Ratan Tata as the chief advisor to the board of AirAsia India. A legend in every sense. Building a powerful team," AirAsia's chief executive officer (CEO) Tony Fernandes said today.
"Persuading Mr Tata to be advisor has not been easy. Critical we have someone of his massive experience to help me chart AirAsia India."
AirAsia will announce the appointment of the chairman for its planned domestic airline in a day or two.
Fernandes said the chairman would be "someone who has redefined many parts of India. A towering man who brings unbelievable experience to the AiraAsia India board."
Fernandes was earlier keen that Tata, a keen aviator himself, take up the post of chairman.
The former Tata Group chairman had paved the way for creation of a joint venture partnership between AirAsia, Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace and the Mumbai-based conglomerate.
AirAsia holds 49 per cent in the joint venture and the Tatas hold 30 per cent, while the balance is held by Bhatia.
Tata Sons has nominated R Venkatraman, former executive assistant to Ratan Tata, and Bharat Vasani, chief legal counsel of the Tata Group, on the board.
AirAsia would be represented by CEO Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Bin Meranun, who are among its largest shareholders.
Arun Bhatia would represent Telstra Tradeplace on the board of the new venture.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had told reporters last week, "All matters on AirAsia India have been resolved. The proposal has been sent to the home ministry for security clearance. Once the ministry's nod comes, the civil aviation ministry will give its clearance."
In early April, the government had cleared AirAsia's proposal to invest Rs 80.98 crore in an Indian subsidiary, marking the clearance of the project's first step before seeking a licence to fly.
Following this, the company on April 23 applied the civil aviation ministry for a no-objection certificate to launch flight operations in India.
It has planned to launch operations with a few aircraft and proposes to bring in 37 planes over the next five years.