NEW DELHI: AirAsia Bhd group chief executive officer, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, has acknowledged that getting a flying licence in India has been tough. In an interview with ET Now, he said: “The entire aviation industry tried to block us.”
He said in any country that AirAsia has gone, it has never experienced an industry that has ganged up against it.
“Many people don’t want us to start, which means that we must be quite good,” he said.
Fernandes said the key to AirAsia’s India plans is getting a licence.
“The plan remains the same. Our fares will be very aggressive. We will stimulate the market,” he said.
Asked about the tough competition that AirAsia India will face in the Indian market, Fernandes told the Indian media, “What I am appealing to is a new market.
“No one is really a low-cost carrier in India right now. If you look at the fares charged by Indigo, Spicejet ... the common man has not benefited. There is no real low-cost carrier. Deccan was the last one, but that had an unsustainable model.”
Inching closer to launch its operations, the new no-frills carrier, AirAsia India, last Saturday took delivery of its first Airbus A-320. It landed in Chennai after flying in from the Toulouse headquarters of the European aircraft manufacturer.
The carrier, a joint venture between AirAsia, Tata Sons Ltd and Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace Pte Ltd, is still awaiting a flying licence from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
“The AirAsia India family takes immense pride in welcoming home its first aircraft which has just rolled off the manufacturing line in Toulouse,” AirAsia India’s chief executive officer Mittu Chandilya said. — Bernama
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on March 25, 2014.