AirAsia Mulls Flights To Africa, Europe From India

Saturday, 4th October 2014 at 03:34am

Indian travelers wanting to fly to Africa and Europe may not need to book expensive tickets to get to their destinations when AirAsia India finally opens direct flights to the two continents.

Tony Fernandes, the founder and chairman of Asia's low-cost giant, disclosed in a recent interview that the he is planning to transform India into a hub for African and European destinations through its local subsidiary, AirAsia India.

Tony Fernandes was in Dubai recently in a speaking engagement during the Africa Global Business Forum.

AirAsia India launched its commercial operations on June12 this year with the inaugural flight from Bangalore to Goa.

It originally planned to focus its operations on tier-II and tier-III cities in India. Following its inaugural operations in June, however, it also plans to fly to major cities and now targeting Mumbai and Delhi as well.

Currently, the airline serves a total of six destinations including Goa, Chennai, Kochi, Jaipur and Chandigarh and Bangalore, its main hub.

The entry of AirAsia India into the Indian market was largely opposed by existing and more established airlines in India much to the dismay of Tony Fernandes. In fact, the local airlines formed an alliance for the sole purpose of ganging up on the newcomer and filed a class suit against the low-cost carrier, citing violations on the country's newly-amended aviation law.

Of course, the investors who form a joint venture to set up AirAsia India, vehemently denied the allegations and was subsequently defended by DGCA or the Indian government. The case, however, is still lodged at the Federal court of India in Delhi.

Pending the abolition of the existing 5/20 rule in the country's aviation law, AirAsia India can't mount flights overseas. Instead, it will focus building up its domestic network across India. To achieve that goal, the AirAsia group will feed its Indian hub with traffic from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

The airline is mulling the addition of Mumbai and Delhi into the network of domestic destinations as it perceives these cities to be lucrative while it can't fly outside India for the time being.

AirAsia India currently operates a fleet of two A320 aircraft but will take delivery of six or more of the same type before the year ends.

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