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Malaysian airline tycoon Tony Fernandes applies for ‘overseas citizen of India’ status

Malaysian airline tycoon Tony Fernandes

Malaysia, March 19 (UITV)- Malaysian airline tycoon Tony Fernandes, said he has applied to becpme an ‘overseas citizen of India’, a status that may allow him to fully own his local unit and skirt some aviation rules that restrict foreigners.

By becoming an ‘Overseas Citizen of India’ the AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes may be able to fend off rivals who say AirAsia is violating foreign ownership rules by fully controlling the local unit even though it has only 49 per cent holdings.

Now, AirAsia is a three-way joint venture between AirAsia, the Tata Group and the private investor Arun Bhatia. Becoming an Overseas citizen of India (OCI) may clear the path of the Tony Fernandes to acquire 100% of the venture.  

Mr Fernandes, whose parents are from India, told reporters in the Southern Indian city of Hyderabad that he has submitted his application last week.

“I find the foreign ownership thing funny. Naresh Goyal lives in London and is an NRI, SpiceJet used to be owner by Americans, IndiGo has ton of American shareholders… so they are all NRIs. What is important? Is it creating jobs, is it creating investment, increasing tourism?” the AirAsia chief said.

OCI cards are given to the people who has taken citizenship of other countries but have Indian origin roots. The same also holds for spouses of Indian citizen or person of Indian origin. Therefore, OCI is not an actual citizenship of India, and thus, does not amount to dual citizenship or dual nationality.