AirAsia India has a hard journey right from the start. AirAsia India recently had management rejig with the Tata Group for the first time appointing their own CEO and COO. Sunil Bhaskaran took charge as the CEO and MD of AirAsia India in October 2018 and Sanjay Kumar joined AirAsia India as the COO in December 2018.
AirAsia India has had its fair share of legal trouble ranging from flouting the Indian rules on airlines, to money laundering. Amidst all this, AirAsia India has been continuing normal operations but without some sort of strategy. The number one priority when AirAsia India started operations was to be able to fly overseas very quickly. The government even relaxed the norms back then. But AirAsia India’s course of operations didn’t go as planned.
AirAsia India earlier this month inducted it’s 20th aircraft in its fleet: VT-KUL, four and a half years after commencing operations. With 20 aircraft now in AirAsia India’s fleet, it became eligible to fly internationally. AirAsia India has now applied to the Government of India for permission to fly overseas.
But it won’t be so simple. The nod to fly overseas will be decided by a group of ministers headed by the Finance Minister. Elections later this year may certainly delay the process. Vistara, which inducted the 20th aircraft in its fleet last year, had applied to fly international in mid-2018. It is still waiting for a nod to fly overseas. The government may have changed the rules to allow any Indian airline with 20+ aircraft to fly abroad, but they sure are not giving approvals under the new policy anytime soon.
In another six months from now, AirAsia India will also be eligible under the old set of rules (5/20) to fly internationally.
AirAsia India has initially planned to operate flights to South-East Asia if it gets the approval. It is a smart decision to foray into home territory as the entire AirAsia group is based in South-East Asia.
When do you think will AirAsia India International Operations finally get permissions?