Thursday, August 18, 2016

AirAsia India to expand to 20 aircraft 'at the earliest'

Bengaluru: AirAsia India, owned jointly by Tata Sons and Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd, is expanding its fleet to 20 aircraft, which would allow it to fly abroad. It board of directors approved new funding into the airline this month.

“We are at seven aircraft and want to get to 20 at the earliest. We are not going to stop at 20,” said Amar Abrol, chief executive officer at AirAsia India, on Wednesday. “The board has approved multiple millions of dollars for this growth.”
Air Asia will induct its seventh aircraft by September, expecting to serve more routes connecting Bengaluru, its base, to Hyderabad, Goa and Guwahati. The company, said Abrol, was showing gross profit since April, due to higher passenger loads on its routes.

In June, the government liberalised a decades-old policy that had restricted an airline from plying on routes out of the country till they’d completed at least five years and had a fleet of 20 aircraft.

Now, the only condition airlines such as AirAsia India is to operate a fleet of 20 planes that will allow them to fly on lucrative overseas routes, where they gain benefit of lower fuel and foreign exchange gains.

AirAsia India has seen turbulent times since it started service in 2014. It had to fight larger rivals such as Indigo in many routes, while restricting growth plans due to over regulations in the Indian civil aviation sector. The company saw its chief executive Mitu Chandilya quit earlier this year.
18/08/16 Raghu Krishnan/Business Standard
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