Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia launched its inaugural flight to Bangalore, carrying 15 children with congenital heart disease who need open heart surgery.
The children will undergo surgery at the Narayana Hrudayalaya Heart Institute in Bangalore, whose chief Devi Shetty is a familiar name in Kuala Lumpur as he regularly performs surgeries.
AirAsia group commercial regional head Kathleen Tan said the airline was excited about the launch, adding that the service was expected to promote medical tourism in India.
Headed by ethnic Indian Tony Fernandes, AirAsia sees a huge demand from the health sector with patients seeking medical assistance from Bangalore-based institutions.
"The daily service is also expected to cater to significant traffic including business and leisure travellers and students to and from the technology hub in southern India," Tan said.
With the launch, Bangalore has become the seventh destination in India for AirAsia after Thiruvananthapuram, Kolkata, Chennai, Kochi, Tiruchirapalli and Mumbai.
The carrier, which will be using its brand new Airbus A320 aircraft on the Kuala Lumpur-Bangalore route, recorded a 100 per cent load on its inaugural flight.
AirAsia is also offering fares as low as RM25 ($7.5) to those travelling from Bangalore as part of its recently-announced promotion of one million free seats.