Tuesday, September 05, 2017

AirAsia India to fly overseas in 2018

Low-cost carrier AirAsia India aims to take to international skies by late next year, by when its fleet is expected to include 21 aircraft.

Sharing details of international plans, AirAsia India Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Amar Abrol said, “When we touch 21 planes next year, we look to fly international. We’re evaluating destinations that could be connected through 4.5- to 5-hour flights from India.”

The airline, a JV between Tata Sons and AirAsia Berhad of Malaysia, is likely to utilise a strong (AirAsia) presence in Southeast Asia, with existing stations. “It is a lot easier to fly to an existing station, as we have a captive market and infrastructure. It doesn’t mean that we won’t look at other destinations, which we eye tapping over a period of time,” Abrol hinted.

Southeast Asian countries, predominantly Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia, are popular tourist hubs. By connecting with AirAsia’s home base of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the airline is bullish on connections to Australia as well.

Currently, AirAsia India’s domestic network includes the hubs of Bengaluru, Delhi and Kolkata, along with Goa, Hyderabad, Pune, Jaipur, Ranchi, Chandigarh, Bagdogra, Guwahati, Visakhapatnam, Imphal, Bhubaneswar, Kochi and Srinagar. Along with Bengaluru, the airline is open to serving other Indian stations with international flights.

The Centre’s ambitious 0/20 Rule, which allows an Indian airline to commence international operations once its fleet reaches a strength of 20 aircraft, has inspired many carriers to tap foreign routes. Along, with this, AirAsia is also bullish on the UDAN scheme, serving a lot of Tier-II markets. “Our strategy is to focus on Tier-II cities, since growth is there. Out of the 330 million people who can afford to fly, only 75 million actually fly. We are helping create new demand.”
05/09/17 Deccan Herald