For AirAsia India, it is the North East that looks exciting next as a destination though the low cost carrier is open to flying to wherever it can across the country.
“We will go places where no one goes,” AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes declared on Thursday, quickly remarking that he does not want to sound like Star Trek.
AirAsia India, a joint venture between AirAsia, Tata Sons Ltd and Telestra Tradeplace Pvt Ltd, “will launch [services] wherever we can launch. North East, given its tourism potential, looks exciting, he explained. Mr. Fernandes was replying to queries at a press meet to mark the formal launch of the operations in India.
The air carrier is pursuing a strategy developed on competitive fares and a dream of making air travel affordable to the masses. On how is it possible, he said the whole idea is to allow the common man to fly and “don’t charge them for things [services] that they do not want. Unbundling of fares is right, our competition should not complain,” he pointed out.
Chairman emeritus of Tata Sons Ratan N. Tata said he was happy at AirAsia India looking at news areas. Equally proud, Mr. Tata said, was he at being associated with both segments — with AirAsia in the low fare segment and full services in collaboration with Singapore Airlines.
Noting that he was convinced with the potential for air travel in India, Mr. Tata the “base of pyramid” has not been tapped.
AirAsia India launched its services on June 12 with a Bangalore-Goa flight and followed it up with a Bangalore-Chennai service. On July 20, it would be launching its Bangalore-Cochin service. “We are lot more bullish now,” replied AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya to a question on how the carrier perceived the market and when it expected to break even.
The focus was on keeping the costs low, he said, adding for this the strategy even means counting the numbers of papers that “we are printing to the coffees that we take”. Even reducing costs, the carrier wanted to keep the quality high.
Chairman of Air Asia India and vice chairman of Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, S. Ramadorai described it as a long journey and a long commitment to make air travel affordable happen.