Considering market, aviation industry in India small: AirAsia's Tony Fernandes

Written by PTI | Bangalore | Updated: Jul 4 2014, 03:14am hrs
Airasia indiaRatan Tata (R) and Air Asia Group CEO Tony Fernandes with air hostesses in Bengaluru. PTI
AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tony Fernandes today said considering the population and potential tourism market India has, the aviation industry in the country is very small.

"....for the size of the population and for the size of the potential tourist market, the aviation industry is very small. There is huge scope for fourth airline, I would tell my competitors this is not about one airline or two airline or three airline- that all of us should work together in making it more affordable for Indians to fly, to help lot of Indians to fly overseas for business and also to bring people to this wonderful country," Fernandes told reporters here.

Speaking at the press conference to celebrate the launch of AirAsia India that was attended by Ratan Tata and S Ramadorai he said, "for the size of Indian population it is very small."

While Tata is the Chief Advisor to Airasia India, Ramadorai is the Chairman of the Board of the airline.

Thanking the Centre for its help in launching AirAsia India, he said "obviously we want to reduce cost as much as possible and transfer that to growth....; we hope that the government of India, and the state governments in the country will look at ATF, will look at developing low cost infrastructure going forward."

Breaking into Indian domestic aviation space, AirAsia India on June 12 had launched its operation with a flight from here to Goa in a foray that is expected to intensify the fare war among the no-frill airlines in the loss-hit sector.

The country's fourth budget carrier has also announced the addition of Kochi to its existing network from July 20.

"Indian aviation history has failed so far. Not many have made money, some airlines have gone bust," he said.

Air Asia India will break even in 12 months: Fernandes

Panaji: The new entrant in the budget airline club, Air Asia India, today said it would take about a year to break even.

"We need to put more planes. We are rushing to have six planes operational, after that we are confident that within 12 months we will attain the break-even. Right now the pressure is only to deliver," Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Asia, said at Dabolim airport here today.

Top Air Asia India officials, led by chief adviser Ratan Tata, held discussions with Goa's Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza and officials of industry body CII as to how the coastal state can become a hub for it.

Fernandes said the aviation sector has high expectations from Narendra Modi-led Union Government, especially to help reduce the air fares.

Modi's plans to promote tourism and a favourable ruling to allow carriers to fly the international route soon could help the industry greatly, he said, adding that reduction in aviation fuel rate and airport taxes would also make domestic flying cheaper, and bolster the industry.