It is turning out to be an interesting few months for AirAsia India. AirAsia India, which was without a CEO for five months after Amar Abrol quit, found one in Sunil Bhaskaran. Sanjay Kumar, former IndiGo COO with over 25 years of industry experience joined soon as AirAsia India’s new COO.
Tata Group increased its stake to 51% from earlier 49%, thus gaining a majority stake, like its other JV, Vistara. In January 2019, AirAsia India applied with the Government for a nod to fly overseas after taking delivery of its twentieth aircraft.
AirAsia India which became eligible under the new rule after having twenty aircraft will also become eligible under the old 5/20 rule as it turns 5 in June 2019. However, the permission won’t come quickly or easily for that matter. Vistara, which inducted the 20th aircraft in its fleet last year, only got approval almost a year after it had applied for the same.
AirAsia India is aiming for an October launch for its international flights, should the permission to fly overseas come by then. It may have also made its international plan clear with the last two aircraft it inducted in its fleet. AirAsia India’s last two aircraft bear the registrations: VT-KUL and VT-BKK.
Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok may be the first two destinations which may be served by AirAsia India. I know AirAsia group operates out of Don Mueang International airport (DMK) and not Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK). But it may be symbolic as people are more familiar with BKK and not DMK or it may other plans. We don’t know yet.
Apart from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, AirAsia India is also planning to fly to cities like Colombo where there aren’t any bilateral right restrictions or it is easy to get rights. It has plans to fly to the Middle-East/West Asia but bilateral rights are not easy to get.
AirAsia India wished to participate in the temporary allocation of Jet Airways international rights but since they don’t have permission to fly abroad, they couldn’t participate. Over the years, AirAsia India plans to deploy 40% of its capacity on international routes.
According to Sanjay Kumar, AirAsia India’s COO,
We have 21 planes in our fleet and plan to double the number in a year. We aim to start our international operations by October.
AirAsia India will have to make sure that they do not compete directly with other AirAsia group carriers which have a considerable presence in India. Let’s see when do they get their permission to fly overseas.
When do you think will AirAsia India International Operations will finally get permissions?