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Air Asia India to start operating flights from June 12
May 30, 2014, 12:31 pm
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AirAsia India will start flying from June 12, the airline's Malaysian parent's chief executive said on Thursday, ending months of wait for passengers eager to fly the airline. AirAsia claims to be bringing in the cheapest air tickets in the country.

"Very very proud to announce AirAsia India open for sale tomorrow. Wow. First flight June 12th. See you all In India on the 12th," Tony Fernandes posted on his Twitter account.

On May 8, AirAsia India cleared its final regulatory hurdle when it got flying permit from the DGCA. The airline, set up as a joint venture between its Malaysian parent AirAsia Berhad, Tata Sons and private investor Arun Bhatia, announced its plans to enter the country on February 19, 2013. Air Asia India to start operating flights from June 12.

See you all In India on the 12th," Tony Fernandes posted on his Twitter account.

On May 8, AirAsia India cleared its final regulatory hurdle when it got flying permit from the DGCA. The airline, set up as a joint venture between its Malaysian parent AirAsia Berhad, Tata Sons and private investor Arun Bhatia, announced its plans to enter the country on February 19, 2013.

In his tweet, Fernandes didn't mention which sector the airline would be flying first. But a person close to the development said the airline is likely to fly Chennai-Bangalore and Bangalore-Goa routes. The airline has its base in Chennai. AirAsia's entry is slated to heat up competition in the Indian skies, currently dominated in terms of market share by lowfare carriers such as IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet.

Its India CEO Mittu Chandilya had in a recent interview said it will offer fares 30-35% lower than the average fares of its rivals. Chandilya had said the first flight would "possibly" be out of Chennai but that may change.

AirAsia India will most likely fly to all metros but exclude Mumbai. "Our network isn't finalised yet but we are looking at a 60:40 ratio of Tier-II routes to metro routes with 60 being Tier-II," he had said.

Industry experts said this sudden announcement of a launch date will instigate the competition into offering aggressive pricing. "This tactical surprise may have caught the competition off guard as they were expecting a later date. Competition will be aggressive; Indian carriers have a track record of engaging in unsustainable fare discounting and an unusual willingness to bear losses," said Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of Sydney-based consultant CAPACentre for Aviation.

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