AirAsia India To Take Off by Year End
Thursday, 11th July 2013 at 08:12am
AirAsia's local subsidiary AirAsia India will not commence commercial operations until the end of the year.
The new airline is still awaiting the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Home Ministry. No less than AirAsia CEO, Tony Fernandes, made the announcement earlier that the carrier will start operations by September this year. But due to the delayed issuance of the said certificate, the launch of its commercial operations has been moved indefinitely, hopefully towards the end of the year.
AirAsia India is the result of the three-way joint venture between Tony Fernandes through his AirAsia Bhd and Indian partners, Tata Sons and Telestra Tradeplace.
AirAsia India is a unique local-foreign partnership wherein the foreign investor, holds the majority stake of the company, at 49%. The rest of the stakes, 51%, is divided between Tata Sons and Telestra Tradeplace.
The airline was originally scheduled to start commercial operations by September this year initially serving the domestic routes mainly within the southern cities of India. It will keep an initial fleet of three narrow-body Airbus aircraft for its maiden operations and will add one aircraft each month thereafter.
AirAsia India is planning to hire 250 people for its maiden operations.
Kamarudin Meranun, the airline's deputy group CEO, told the media that they will focus on the number of flights rather than the number of destinations the airline will fly to as it will save them marketing and promotional costs.
What the airline will work on is to maintain a certain number of trips each day while keeping a certain standard of efficiency as a low-cost airline without compromising quality of service.
Aside from the low fares it will offer, the budget carrier will also derive its income from other in-flight products and services such as meals on board (especially on longer flights), advertisements on the airline's livery, promoting travel insurance, selling hotel rooms, among others.
The CEO was also hinting that they are going to sell foreign exchange too.
The new budget carrier will focus on markets which are underserved, especially in the south of India.
Fernandes was ecstatic about the partnership with the Tata Group as the latter will give them a headstart in their domestic operations as it has extensive knowledge in the local market. Besides, Tata used to operate the country's first airline company until it left the industry in 1940s after the government took over its operations.
By: Pete Lee.