Claiming it will give Indian Railways a run for its money, AirAsia India took to the skies on Thursday with its debut flight from Bangalore to Goa. The airline has promised fares that are 30-35% lower than those being offered by other domestic carriers.
“We will continue to charge Rs. 990 per ticket to compete with Indian railways rather than with other low-cost carriers,” AirAsia India’s chief executive officer (CEO) Mittu Chandilya said. “Our fares will be 35% lower than the market rates.
At this rate, we believe we can sustain... We intend to bring down the tariff further as we are sure that we could make revenues with stable operations,” he added.
The airline’s entry has forced rival airlines to drop fares, already. The company offered a dramatic Rs. 5 (excluding taxes) promotional fare to start with, besides an all-inclusive fare of Rs. 990 on the Bangalore-Goa and Bangalore-Chennai sectors. Bangalore-Chennai flights will begin on June 19.
AirAsia India, a joint venture between AirAsia , Tata Group and Telestra Tradeplace, will announce new routes after it commences Chennai operations, said Chandilya.
“India is a huge potential. My goal would be to scale up as soon as possible. We are looking at bringing in maybe an aircraft a month,” said Chandilya. He said AirAsia’s cost structure was one of the lowest in the industry.
“How ironic Captain Manish formerly of Indigo commandokg our first flight for AirAsia India to (sic),” tweeted AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes taking a dig at rival IndiGo, which opposed the grant of air operators permit to AirAsia India.
“In Goa. Wow we did it. Congrats to all my wonderful staff in @airasiain,” Fernandes added.