Ticket sales will begin from today

AirAsia India will start commercial operation from Chennai on June 12 and ticket sales will begin from May 30, Air Asia Group’s Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said on Thursday.

“Very very proud to announce Air Asia India (will) open for sale tomorrow. Wow. The first flight (is on) June 12. Serve you all in India on the 12,” Mr. Fernandes tweeted taking all by surprise.

“AirAsia India announced to start operation with just two weeks notice. This tactical surprise may have caught the competition off guard as they were expecting a later date. During the initial phase, operations are expected to be modest in scale with just one or two aircraft as the carrier tests the waters,” Kapil Kaul, CEO, South Asia, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, said.

The Chennai-based airline has promised to transform the Indian civil aviation sector by offering low fares to enable all Indians to fly. Till late evening the airline did not share any information on the sectors it would operate and the fares it would offer. Details will be announced on Friday, according to officials.

Air Asia India is a joint venture between Malaysia-based AirAsia (49 per cent), Mumbai-based Tata Sons (30 per cent) and Delhi-based Arun Bhatia’s Telstra (21 per cent).

The company first applied to Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in February 2013 and received a formal approval in April 2013, followed by the No Objection Certificate (NOC) in September 2013.

This new airline is all set to take off despite steep resistance from Indian carriers, especially IndiGo and legal huddles. AirAsia’s entry will intensify fare war. At present, the airline has one aircraft and more are expected to join. AirAsia India’s fleet will be drawn from the 475 A320 family aircraft ordered by the AirAsia Group. The airline will have a fleet of A320 aircraft offering 180 economy seats. Apart from luring passengers from other airlines, Air Asia India has plans to convert train passengers into air passengers through offer of low fares.

One can book tickets through www.airasia.com and through Air Asia’s agents throughout the country.

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