The gloves are off between AirAsia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes and Indian private carriers. Fare wars among airlines are common but of late the airline dogfight has moved to a different sphere as senior airline executives have taken to micro-blogging site Twitter to hit out at rivals.
SpiceJet chief operating officer Sanjiv Kapoor has, in a series of tweets, taken on Tata-AirAsia backed start-up, AirAsia India, which begins operations on June 12, which recently announced a promotional fare of Rs. 5.
“What is predatory, disruptive, dangerous? Offering Rs. 5 fares in peak season, and that too w/in 14 days of travel. Let us wait and watch...,” tweeted Kapoor, whose airline launched special all-inclusive one-way fares starting from Rs. 2,999 on all its “via” and onward connection flights.
Fernandes, who had earlier accused Indian carriers of ganging up to block AirAsia’s entry into India, hit out at rivals on Saturday after Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), which represents private Indian carriers, wrote to finance minister Arun Jaitely that approvals granted to AirAsia India were “illegal”.
FIA had asked the government to advise aviation regulator Director General of Civil Aviation not to allow the budget carrier to launch its operations.
“Some airlines scared of us. We must be doing something right. Help us people of India. Don’t let cartels win and not let ordinary man fly,” Fernandes had tweeted.
Kapoor replied, “People of India want choice. People of India already have more choice than the people of Malaysia when it comes to airlines.”