Clearing regulatory hurdles and wading off stiff opposition from Indian private carriers, AirAsia India is set to launch operations on Thursday. However, none of the bigwigs from the promoter companies would be present at the launch.
AirAsia group chief executive Tony Fernandes will not be present in Bangalore on Thursday when its maiden flight takes off at 3.10 pm for Goa, nor would Ratan Tata, former chairman of the Tata Group who is also the chief advisor to the board of AirAsia India.
Even AirAsia India chairman S Ramadorai won’t be there for the inaugural flight. An AirAsia India spokesperson confirmed that while these three would not be present, AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya would travel on the inaugural flight.
Fernandes had hit out at domestic private carriers accusing them of ganging up to stop AirAsia’s entry into India, and had been widely expected to participate in the launch. “He will be here, most probably next month, for a launch party,” said an official.
While AirAsia holds a 49% stake in the joint venture, the Tata Group and Telestra Tradeplace Pvt Ltd hold 30% and 21% stakes respectively.