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Aviation policy is 'bizarre': Tony

Aviation policy is
Highlights

AirAsia to invest $30 mn for Indian JV; to offer free tickets Company plans allow upto 15 kg of free luggage To redistribute tickets in India...

AirAsia to invest $30 mn for Indian JV; to offer free tickets
  • Company plans allow upto 15 kg of free luggage
  • To redistribute tickets in India through both online and offline channels.
  • It runs a JV portal with Expedia, an online distribution channel for the airline
  • Fernandes suggests Air India should be with a private player
  • AirAsia is looking at leveraging Tata Group's experience in handling the new airline JV
New Delhi (PTI): Indicating its intentions to fly abroad very soon, the proposed airline, AirAsia India on Wednesday trashed the "bizarre" policy of allowing carriers to operate international flights only after five years of domestic operations. Tony"These are bizarre rules ... That you can't fly abroad before five years and (need) 20 aircraft (fleet).... That rule makes no sense. It is a negative for the Indian airlines. I, as a one-plane airline in Malaysia, can fly to India. India is the only country which has such a rule," Air Asia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said. Speaking on AirAsia India, which is being backed by his carrier, the Tata Group and Telestra Tradeplace of Arun Bhatia, he said it would offer cheap tickets by charging for various services including food and preferred seats, besides taking "aggressive" cost-cutting measures. But AirAsia India would offer 15 kgs of free baggage allowance with each ticket, as per rules here. "I would not see (the fares) being too costly to drive away customers and neither too cheap not to meet the costs," the AirAsia chief said, adding that his airline model in Malaysia -- which has the tagline of 'everyone can fly'-- attracts even the "taxi and bus driver". Explaining on cheap tickets, Fernandes said "you will know when we do our first flight. We can go low. Our fares from Kuala Lumpur to Kochi are lower than Kochi-Mumbai." The company will initially only operate on domestic routes because Indian aviation laws require airlines to have at least five years of flying experience and to operate at least five airplanes before being eligible to fly internationally. AirAsia India, which would have a fleet of Airbus A-320s, would invest $30 million to begin with, he said, adding that he was looking forward to low-cost airports across India, connecting many more routes and getting into the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) business in the country. Among the steps to be taken on "aggressive cost-cutting" would be ticketing through the internet, using Tata's retail shopping chain, introducing pre-paid cards on which air tickets can be purchased, apart from travel agencies. His Group would also enter India's insurance market through 'Tune Money', a Malaysian financial services company that offers insurance and loyalty card products. "But this venture will be separate from the airline business."
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