Air Asia India aims to achieve PM Modi’s Act East vision

New Delhi : Chief Executive Officer of Air Asia India Amar Abrol on Wednesday said that the budget carrier would aim to deliver on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of connecting to the east and work closely with the state governments to do so.

“We are a Malaysian based airline and we have two big hubs (Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok). So, certainly, we will be the carrier that connects and delivers on the Prime Minister’s vision of connecting to the east”, Abrol told ANI.

He also said that connecting from north-east India is of particular interest to the airline, owing to the proximity of north-east India to south-east Asia.

Air Asia exists across Asia in 122 cities. However, the airline commenced its India operations in June 2014 with Bengaluru as its primary hub. The airline now plans to become a designated international carrier, with operations likely to begin in 2019.

“International operations as of now will most likely begin in the first quarter of 2019. There is obviously a lot of work to be done in the background in terms of licensing, training of pilots, aircraft readiness. This will all happen this year, and we will be working very closely with Ministry of Civil Aviation, with Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to make sure that we are well prepared before we go international”, Abrol said.

“We are right now at 14 aircraft. The 15th comes in on February 24 and we have got six more on order this year. This will allow us to be a designated international career and then every year subsequent we will continue to add about 8-10 aircraft depending on how we perform as a business. They will be deployed both domestically and internationally”, he added.

Offering further clarification about rumours of Air Asia acquiring the stake in India’s flagship airline, Air India, Abrol said that the airline is fixated on its model of being a low-cost carrier.

“There is no plan to acquire Air India. We are very fixated on our model. We are good at low cost and that’s how we will operate”, Abrol concluded. (ANI)