Domestic airline GoAir is not averse to expanding its operations to international routes, subject to revision of certain eligibility norms, even while retaining its focus on growing in the country.
“I might apply with a request for a revision in the norms,” Giorgio De Roni, Chief Executive Officer, Go Airlines (India), said, referring to the government stipulation that domestic carriers could go abroad only if they have a minimum 20 aircraft. Some foreign airlines with less than 20 aircraft, he added, were, however, allowed to operate.
While stating that GoAir respected the regulatory framework, he said the government stood to gain by permitting the domestic carriers to operate on international routes as the move would bring more foreign tourists, foreign exchange and have a positive impact on allied businesses such as hotels.
Mr. Roni was addressing a press meet to announce the decision of GoAir to start operations in Chennai from May 1. It has also got its 12 Airbus A320. Chennai, the 22nd destination for the carrier, he added.
To a query on the plans for more aircraft, he said GoAir had 12, of which one was on a short lease.
The company proposes to add three more aircraft this fiscal. The number would increase to 20 by 2014. It has also placed orders for 72 aircraft, which will come by 2016.
On the decision of the government to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in airlines, he said the group was willing to sell, but would consider if there was an opportunity to “improve our vision and market.” He said GoAir was in discussion with “two big brothers in Europe” for a tie-up for maintenance and spare parts, but not with anyone for FDI.”
The carrier, like many others in the industry, was evaluating the prospects of importing aviation fuel, he said, pointing out that cost of fuel represented 50 per cent of the total cost for airlines. Importing fuel would mean lot of investments for the airlines, he added.