Updated: Thu, 23 Jan 2014 10:20:43 GMT | By The Malaysian Insider : Business

Tony Fernandes optimistic about taking flight in India

AirAsia Bhd Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (pic) is optimistic about his India venture taking off soon, as well as changing the travel mood of the country with 1.3 billion population. He sees this as a good time to enter the Indian market, according to CNBC-TV18. “We are the first foreign airline that has ever been...


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AirAsia Bhd Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (pic) is optimistic about his India venture taking off soon, as well as changing the travel mood of the country with 1.3 billion population.

He sees this as a good time to enter the Indian market, according to CNBC-TV18.

“We are the first foreign airline that has ever been allowed to have gotten this far in India. There are many who want us. There are a few who do not want us. So the process goes on,” he said in his interview with the news channel on
the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He said this when asked on the process of commencing AirAsia India.

“Recently, we had the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) approving all our training facilities. We are ready to go. I believe we can launch in March-April. We are very optimistic about changing travel mood and keeping economic growth in India through our low fares,” said
Fernandes.

AirAsia India is a 49:30:21 joint-venture between Air Asia, Tata Group and Arun Bhatia-led Telestra Teleservices. Set-up early last year, it had aimeds to take to the skies in September/October 2013, but a few delays had pushed the potential date now to March/April 2014.

Asked whether AirAsia India had started drawing up a blueprint on its marketing, branding, positioning and fare strategy for the market, he said, ”It has gone from blue to faded blue. It has been there for a while.”

The extra time had caused the team to learn a bit more, revamp some of the initial thoughts, and confidence grows by the day, he said.

“We are very excited. It is a great time to go into India. Most people are pessimistic. I am very optimistic. People want to travel. There is a migratory workforce.

"There is a huge tourism opportunity which many have avoided, both in internal and external tourism. I remain bullish and patient.”

Having waited seven years for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route to be opened, he said: ”Time is on my side and I believe it is only a matter of weeks.” - Bernama, January 23, 2014.

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