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AirAsia India to add two aircraft to fleet by April

Business Standard:  March 23, 2015

New Delhi: Indo-Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia India is planning to add two more Airbus A320s to its existing fleet of four by April-end, according to Mittu Chandilya, chief executive officer of AirAsia (India).

The airline firm, a joint venture with Tata Sons Limited, on Saturday unveiled its fourth aircraft at the Shamshabad International Airport here with a livery dedicated to JRD Tata, as a mark of respect to the pioneer of civil aviation in the Indian sub-continent. The aircraft has been christened The Pioneer.

The livery of AirAsia India's fourth aircraft dons an image of JRD Tata with a Puss Moth, the aircraft he flew on October 15, 1932, leading to the birth of Tata Airlines and starting civil aviation in the sub-continent.

“High taxation on aviation turbine fuel is a major concern. However, we are bullish on the Indian aviation industry as the number of people flying is just 100 million. With another addition to our fleet, we will soon make flying, a possibility for every Indian,” Chandilya said, adding that the airline was expecting to achieve operational break even within this calendar.

According to Tony Fernandes, chief executive officer of AirAsia, the airline will fight those who try to protect the status quo by lobbying for antiquated rules. Indians must be put first before those who just lobby to protect their own bottom line as opposed to competing, he said.

Fernandes was apparently referring to domestic airlines like Jet Airways, GoAir, SpiceJet and IndiGo, who were opposing the 5/20 restriction being lifted, which would pave the way for start-up airlines like AirAsia and Vistara to commence international operations within a year of launch.

The current 5/20 rules makes it mandatory for an airline to have a fleet of at least 20 aircraft and five years of experience in operating domestic flights before it becomes eligible to fly abroad.

“I have never seen a 5/20 rule anywhere else in the world. Aviation has been one of the key drivers for economic development in India. The country needs much more investments in this sector. And the government should facilitate business. We are awaiting the policy (5/20) clarification,” Fernandes said.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.

x IBEF : India Brand Equity Foundation