AirAsia India expects delay in launch, says CEO

The low-cost airline expects to launch operations by the end of 2013 after getting the necessary approvals

S. Bridget Leena
Updated18 Aug 2013, 09:50 PM IST
AirAsia India chief executive officer Mittu Chandilya says the company was aiming to launch prior to Diwali, but doesn&#8217;t expect it happening now. Photo: S. Kumar/Mint<br />
AirAsia India chief executive officer Mittu Chandilya says the company was aiming to launch prior to Diwali, but doesn&#8217;t expect it happening now. Photo: S. Kumar/Mint(S. Kumar/Mint)

add_main_image Chennai: Low-cost airline AirAsia India expects to launch operations by the end of 2013 after getting the necessary approvals, chief executive officer Mittu Chandilya said on Sunday.

“We were aiming to launch prior to Diwali, but don’t expect it happening,” Chandilya said. “It is better to take up the losses of delayed launch initially than trying to hurry up the launch.”NextMAds

Chandilya was speaking with the media in Chennai on sidelines of an event that saw AirAsia sponsoring the Indian blind football team to Bangkok to participate in an international blind football tournament.

The airline is yet to secure a no-objection certificate from India’s aviation ministry, after which it will have to get air operating permits.

The airline applied for an airline licence from the ministry in April. It has just received a clearance from the home ministry.

It may be end of December before the airline gets all the clearances and starts to fly, Chandilya said.

There is also a delay as chairman S. Ramadorai is yet to get a security clearance because the proposed venture of Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd, Telestra and Tata Sons Ltd has just applied for it.

There might also be a legal hurdle. Bharatiya Janata Party’s Subramanian Swamy in July filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court, requesting it to quash the clearance granted to AirAsia India on the grounds that it violated the country’s foreign investment policy. The apex court is yet to decide on the petition.sixthMAds

Malaysian airline AirAsia holds a 48.95% stake in AirAsia India. Tata Sons owns a 30% stake and the remaining 21% is held by Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace Pvt. Ltd.

The airline expects to add another 270 employees to existing 200 hired so far, Chandilya said.

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First Published:18 Aug 2013, 09:50 PM IST
HomeCompaniesNewsAirAsia India expects delay in launch, says CEO

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