AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes said more than 50 staffs; including pilots and engineers have been recruited for the new no-frills airline, which plans to start operations in
India later this year.
Fernandes said the new airline plans to add 10 Airbus A320s a year to its fleet, which will focus on routes in southern India, rather than Mumbai and New Delhi, before expanding elsewhere in the country.
aviation has not grown. There are lots of routes which have not been done and
lots of airports are under used,” Fernandes told reporters in Mumbai. “We will
give the lowest possible fares,” he added.
Malaysia-based AirAsia won approval from
investment panel in March to set up the airline in a joint venture with the
giant Tata group and entrepreneur Arun Bhatia’s Telstra Tradeplace.
The new venture will be the first by a foreign airline since India relaxed foreign investment rules in September allowing overseas carriers to take up to a 49% stake in domestic firms.
AirAsia will own 49%, Tata group 30% and Telstra 21%.
Fernandes said making the new airline a success would be “challenging” but he was determined to persevere.
Low-cost carriers already dominate Indian skies with a near 65% market share.
Last week, AirAsia terminated its joint venture with
Nippon Airways as business slumped amid management clashes.
Fernandes on Monday called it a “bad partnership” but said he was open to looking for a new alliance.
Fernandes, a former record industry executive, took over insolvent AirAsia in 2001 and turned it into one of the aviation sector’s biggest success stories.
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