Air Asia India wants the government of India to reduce tax on aviation turbine fuel, lower airport charges and allow new airlines to operate on overseas routes so that the airlines can fly more people at an affordable price, said Tony Fernandes, Air Asia Group chief executive officer.
Air Asia started its operations in India on June 12 with the first flight between Bangalore and Goa and second one to Chennai on June 19.
“We want the Indian government to do three things, reduce tax on ATF (aviation turbine fuel), lower various charges levied at airports as they are higher than in other countries and lift the five-year ban on new airlines to launch international flights,” Fernandes told reporters, here today.
He said the airline has been having 90% plane load factor from the day one it started operations. “Our model is something people have been waiting for. The Indian government should allow more people to fly, as we want to bust the myth that flying is only for the rich,” Fernandes said after announcing the official launch of the airline, here today in the presence of Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus, Tata Group.
Stating that that change of government was not detrimental for the airline, Fernandes said he was happy with the aviation policy of the new government.
“We are bullish about the Indian market. The government should allow the airlines to fly where they want though India is a different market from other countries,” he pointed out.
To make every Indian fly at affordable cost, promote tourism and create market were his airline?s game plan, he said adding that it was dream come true for him to enter India though it took 12-13 years for him to realise.
“We decided to be in India 12-13 years ago. We were slow in coming. When I met Ratan Tata at Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore in 2011, I told him that I wanted to change civil aviation in India and asked him to partner. He responded positively. So we are here,” Fernandes said.
The $30-million joint venture has majority stake from AirAsia Berhad of Malaysia (49%) while Tata Sons holds 30% and Telstra Tradeplace the remaining 21%.
“We started with two aircraft in Malaysia over a decade ago and have grown to 200 aircraft and flown 51 million passengers so far. We want to do the same in India ? fly more people by making flying affordable. We want to reduce the operational cost as much as possible because lower the cost of the ticket, greater the affordability,” Fernandes noted.
Currently, Air Asia India operates two services to Goa and Chennai from Bangalore and starting third service would start to Kochi on July 20. It plans to induct nine more A-320 aircraft to launch services on more destinations, especially on feeder routes, connecting cities and towns across the country.
Air Asia wants Centre to reduce tax on ATF, lower airport charges