Tuesday, December 12, 2017

AirAsia India to expand fleet, add more routes on rising travel demand

Mumbai: AirAsia's Indian venture is expanding its fleet and routes as the budget carrier hopes to turn in a profit next fiscal year amid a surge in air traffic in the world's fastest-growing aviation market.

The airline, a joint venture between Malaysia's flagship budget airline AirAsia and India's Tata Group, is looking to cash in on the surge in India's air travel that has been growing at an annual pace of more than 20% in recent years. Rising incomes and the advent of no-frills carriers prompt more people to shun trains for long-distance travel in the world's second-most populous nation.

Last year, India became the third-largest aviation market behind the U.S. and China with domestic traffic touching 100 million passengers.

AirAsia India plans to expand the number of routes it is flying to 20 from 16 by the end of next fiscal year, Amar Abrol, chief executive and managing director, told reporters in New Delhi on Monday. It also plans to start its maiden international services from the country in the second quarter of 2019, he said.

To operate international flights, an airline needs a fleet of at least 20 aircraft, according to Indian rules. AirAsia, Asia's largest budget carrier, currently operates a fleet of 14 Airbus A320 planes in India, which it plans to increase to 20 by the first quarter of 2019, Abrol said.
12/12/17 Nikkei Asian Review