Tatas to increase AirAsia India stake to 41%

New Delhi: In a significant move, Tata Sons will hike its stake to 41.06 percent in low cost carrier AirAsia India.

The airline, which is facing stiff competition, is also set for top management reshuffle with CEO Mittu Chandilya expected to be elevated as Managing Director in addition to his current responsibility.

“We are in the process of subscribing to the capital of AirAsia India which will take up our stake to 41.06 percent from the current 30 percent,” a Tata Sons spokesperson said.

While specific details could not be immediately ascertained, Tata Sons is likely to acquire the additional stake from Arun Bhatia’s Telestra Tradeplace which currently holds 21 percent stake in AirAsia India.

The no-frills carrier is a three-way joint venture in which Malaysia’s AirAsia Berhard owns 49 percent.

AirAsia India is expected to soon effect its first management revamp since commencing operations in June last year.

The incumbent CFO Vijay Gopalan has put in papers.

“Our CFO, Vijay Gopalan has decided to resign for personal reasons…. We through our board of directors are already in the process of identifying a suitable replacement for this critical position,” the airline said in a statement yesterday.

Under the rejig, Chandilya — who has been the CEO since the carrier’s inception — is expected to be elevated as Managing Director in addition to his current responsibility, according to sources.

In the three months ended March 2015, AirAsia India posted a loss of Rs 19 crore while revenues stood at Rs 74.39 crore.

The airline had carried nearly 2,38,000 passengers contributing a revenue of Rs 3,131 per passenger during the March quarter. Ancillary income per passenger was at Rs 248 while the seat load factor was 79 percent.

In February this year, Chandilya had said the airline was expected to break even by May-June this year. Initially, the break even target was set for November 2014.

Later, the carrier said it was deferring the one-plane-per-month fleet expansion plan, and expects to end the year with 7-10 planes from the present five.