• AirAsia India hopes to have 20 aircraft by middle of next year

    AirAsia India plans to increase its fleet size to 14 aircraft from the current eight by October this year and get to 20 aircraft by the middle of next year, Amar Abrol, the airline’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, said on Thursday.

    In an informal meeting with the media, Abrol said a project team was being formed to look at international operations as several issues needed to be looked into.

    Govt regulations

    The Indian government regulations stipulate that an airline must have 20 aircraft in its fleet before it can start international operations.

    “It will take a year from now to go international,” Abrol said.

    Pointing out that the aircraft in the fleet allow the airline to fly to international destinations which are about four-and-half hours away from India, Abrol said, “Naturally, our strength lies in the East. AirAsia India could look at plugging into Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Jakarta.”

    He added that AirAsia India will also look into how to plug into the “sister airlines” such as AirAsia Malaysia and AirAsia Thailand already flying to India.

    Network strategy

    “AirAsia Malaysia is flying to Bhubaneshwar four times a week. So we can certainly look into that. There are 96 weekly landings of AirAsia airlines from other countries that come into various cities here. We will also compete will the sister concerns,” he said. Abrol said the airline’s network strategy was to largely link metro cities with tier II cities.

    “We are keen on flying Kolkata-Srinagar. We will do Kolkata and a bit of the North-East and then potentially connect the East to the West. It is being studied,” he said.

    Abrol claimed that the airline did an average fare yield of about ? 3,100 in January this year. Eric Dickerson Authentic Jersey

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