Low cost Airline AirAsia has said India can be its hub for Europe and Africa.
I see India in a different way than most people there’s no reason why India cannot be a hub for Europe and Africa, group chief executive Tony Fernandes said in an interview to Gulf News.
He went to say that the Airline would first focus on building a domestic network. AirAsia India has a domestic operator’s licence and it is not allowed to fly abroad. Fernandes said the Airline would feed traffic into India from the Airline’s hubs in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
AirAsia India is a joint venture, partnering AirAsia, Tata Sons Ltd and Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace. While Tata Sons has a 30 per cent stake in the venture, AirAsia owns 49 per cent and Telestra Tradeplace holds the rest. The $30 million venture was the first after foreign direct investment norms in the Aviation segment were changed. Subsequently, the Tata Group had announced a tie up with Singapore Airlines for a full service Airline.
In June this year, AirAsia India launched its first domestic Flight from Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport. The Airline said Bangalore would be a hub for expanding to more cities.
On the domestic market, Fernandes said the focus would be being a big player on big routes like those to Mumbai and Delhi. The Airline is also looking at cities in the northeast. AirAsia India currently operates flights from Bangalore to Chennai, Kochi, Goa, Jaipur, Chandigarh and vice versa.
It is more about frequency on less routes, he said.
On the number of Aircraft the Indian venture would have, he said, I hope to have 20 planes in the not too distant future.By the end of 2014, the Airline would have six A320s.
Commenting on competition, he said, The entire India Airline industry has kind of ganged up on us It means they know we can do something.
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Mohini Porwal [ B Sc]
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