Tata Group, AirAsia Bhd deal: Tony Fernandes to invest $50 mn, puts 'flying license' onus on Indian govt
The AirAsia chief said, "initially we will have a staff strength of about 300 people. But as we grow, we will add to the number. As a thumb rule, generally 20 people are employed with every new aircraft added to the fleet."
While AirAsia will hold 49 per cent stake in the JV, the Tata Group is likely to have 30 per cent and Hindustan Aerosystems of the Bhatias - 21 per cent.
Asked why Chennai was chosen as the proposed airline's base, Fernandes said, "It is the obvious place. We fly there already. We know South India quite well."
AirAsia, through its operations based in Thailand and Malaysia, flies to Chennai, Bangalore, Kochi, Tiruchirappalli and Kolkata from several destinations in the ASEAN region.
To questions relating to the ongoing airfare war, he said he had studied that airfare structure and "I think we can give a fair competition ... I think irrational competition has gone out of the (Indian) market. Now there are sensible businessmen running their (aviation) business sensibly."
Observing that pricing and costs were two major factors for airlines in India, he said the "purchase price (of tickets) will be the number one differentiator (from other airlines). Besides, the strong brand image and the wide network will also make a difference."
Regarding the costs in India, he spoke of high airport charges in Mumbai as
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