Monday, March 06, 2017

AirAsia India aims to start international ops next year: Amar Abrol

AirAsia India is aggressively working on expanding its fleet size to 20 at the earliest to become eligible for flying internationally. CEO Amar Abrol spoke to Shahkar Abidi on a wide range of topics including the airline’s plans for growth, efforts to bring profitability, allegations of external control and financial misappropriations.

AirAsia entered India with lots of buzz and promise. But so far it has not been able to make any mark, especially at a time when fuel prices were low.

India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world and we always wanted to make a mark in it and grow, and that is what we are trying to do by making flying possible for everyone; that is our motto. The low fuel prices have helped us in keeping the fares low and pass the benefits on to the customers. Today, building our network is more important as at present we do not fly to big metros. We believe in the future of Indian aviation and certainly for us.

In the recent past there have been talks of strain in relations between AirAsia Berhad and Tata Sons over issues related to the way the company is run...
Both Tata Sons and AirAsia Berhad have invested their equity that was required, and at stakeholder level, both the hands sync. Both of them participate in Board meetings and are happy with the performance of the company, and therefore, supportive in the running of the airline. So things are smooth and running perfectly.

Are you saying the claims made by the former chairman of Tata Sons regarding some transactions are all wrong?
The said transactions are under the legal investigation, and therefore, I can not comment on it. However, as far as operations are concerned, I can say that it is very much a Board-run company. I report to the Board and do what is the best for the business of AirAsia India. As far as planes are concerned, we will go to any company which provides the best deals for the planes at the specifications provided by us. For example, we did not get into partnership with Tata AIG Insurance or Tune Insurance Malaysia Berhad but with Reliance as it gave us the best deal. So as a company, we are very clear about our priorities and how we are answerable to the Board.
06/03/17 Shahkar Abidi/DNA