AirAsia to fly to India Dec 1October 27th, 2008 - 4:40 pm ICT by IANS
Kuala Lumpur, Oct 27 (IANS) AirAsia, one of the largest airlines in Malaysia, has received the Indian government’s nod for flying to the country, and is ready to take off Dec 1 to Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu. With this, AirAsia “has finally conquered its last frontier”, The Star newspaper said Monday.
AirAsia’s ethnic Indian chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said it took seven years for the airline to reach this stage and with India now in its “pocket”, his mission as CEO was complete.
“I had said then that India would be the last place we need to get into. It is now over. And now AirAsia has to grow its business to Japan, South Korea, Europe and the US,” he added.
The airline will start selling tickets to Tiruchirapalli Wednesday.
“It will be a daily flight and we are even planning to add another one as the initial response has been tremendous,” he said.
Fernandes added that the company would fly to to many more destinations in India including Chennai, Madurai and Kochi with AirAsia in the next one-and-a-half years.
“AirAsia will also fly to places like New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata,” he said.
“This is an exciting period for us and I am looking at a high load factor of at least 90 percent for our first flight,” Fernandes said.
Asked about the global economic slowdown, he said: “I believe that you have to be innovative. While other airlines are cutting back, we are expanding and can take up their slack.”
“Maybe some sections of the Indian population cannot afford to fly with us, but there are many more who can and this is the market we are after,” he added.
Malaysian Airlines (MAS), the country’s largest carrier, is flying to and from several Indian cities.