With NOC, AirAsia India inches closer to take-off

Written by fe Bureau | Chennai | Updated: Sep 27 2013, 20:08pm hrs
Ratan Tata-Tony Fernandes AirAsia India will now begin the process of obtaining the air operating permit and prepare to kick-start its operations.
AirAsia India on Thursday announced that it has been granted no-objection certificate by the ministry of civil aviation, taking the airline closer to take-off. Armed with the NOC, AirAsia India will now begin the process of obtaining the air operating permit and prepare to kick-start its operations.

AirAsia had submitted a request to start a joint venture to begin AirAsia India earlier this year, partnering Tata Sons and Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace. It was granted a formal approval by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) two months later in April.

I am thrilled to announce that AirAsia India has received NOC approval from the government of India. Very exciting and hugely profitable: AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes wrote on micro-blogging website Twitter.

The granting of NOC came close on the heels of Tata Sons the JV partner in AirAsia announcing yet another partnership with Singapore Airlines for a full-service airline in India.

AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya said, We are thankful to the ministry of civil aviation for granting the NOC to us so quickly. This is the fastest a NOC has been granted and with this, we will focus on obtaining the air operating permit.

He said that AirAsia India is confident that it will be able to replicate the success of its counterparts in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia and enabling people to fly affordably through superior operational performance by emphasising a focused and disciplined cost structure.

AirAsia had in June appointed Ratan Tata as chief advisor to the board of its Indian venture besides roping in S Ramadorai as executive chairman. It had also appointed Amisha Sethi as the chief commercial officer of AirAsia India while Vijay Gopalan was named CFO for AirAsia India. The airline currently has a fleet of three Airbus A320 aircraft and over 200 staff.

Fernandes had embarked on an Indian mission in July to explain to the government on the business model it plans to adopt in the country.

He had then met state govrenment officials from southern states before meeting Union government brass in Delhi. He held talks with stakeholders for housing its operational hubs in places such as Kochi and Bangalore. Though AirAsia India will be headquartered in Chennai, it was keen on having different operational hubs in southern states.

He had then said that AirAsia India will offer the lowest fare in the country as it has chalked out plans to reduce operating cost while plans are on the cards to bring in additional revenues by way of offering value added services like, travel insurance and duty free shops. The Indian operation was proposed to begin later this year with flights for southern region, skipping major cities like Delhi and Mumbai with three aircraft initially.