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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

AirAsia says sold out for 2 months, eyes N-E route

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Bangalore, July 03, 2014
First Published: 23:39 IST(3/7/2014) | Last Updated: 23:43 IST(3/7/2014)

Air Asia founder and CEO Tony Fernandes on Thursday said his airline will fly to new destinations including the North East and look at increasing volumes by keeping fares low.

The airline, which launched its maiden flight in India last month, saw its tickets sold out for the next two months, he added.

Air Asia India was formed 14 months ago as a joint venture between Air Asia, Tata group and Telestra Tradeplace, with shareholdings of 49%, 30% and 21%, respectively.

The airline now flies to Bangalore, Chennai and Goa at fares as low as `490 and `990 and will start flights to Kochi later this month. The company is likely to add four destinations more though Fernandes did not reveal further details. “We will go places where no one has gone,” said Fernandes.

Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata group, said the potential for air travel in India is enormous due to rising population and increasing prosperity. About Tata group having another joint venture with Singapore Airline, he said, “There is potential in both ends of the spectrum — the budget segment and full service. Both of them will not compete with each other”.

Air Asia India CEO Mittu Chandilya said the company expects its India unit to break even in December, later than initially planned, after a delay in plane deliveries and a plan to boost investment in the fleet.

“We are more bullish now. Our first flight from Bangalore to Goa sold out in nine minutes, which is a record,” he said.

Less tax, low airport charges and low-cost airport infrastructure in smaller cities will help the company start more services, he added.


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