Chennai-born Mittu Chandilya to pilot AirAsia India

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Picture of Mittu Chandilya tweeted by AirAsia’s chief executive and founder Tony Fernandes.
Picture of Mittu Chandilya tweeted by AirAsia’s chief executive and founder Tony Fernandes.

After days of speculation, AirAsia’s Founder Tony Fernandes has finally lifted the veil on the “smart boy from the South, Madras” who will take the new airline —AirAsia India — to the skies.

The board of AirAsia India has appointed Singapore-based management consultant Mittu Chandilya to head the India operations of the company. Fernandes announced this through his official Twitter handle on Wednesday.

“I am pleased to announce the board of AirAsia India has appointed Mittu Chandilya as CEO of AirAsia India. Mittu is coming home to change Indian travel and make it affordable for all Indians to fly,” tweeted Fernandes.

Chandilya, 32, was earlier head of service practices for Asia-Pacific at Egon Zehnder International, an advisory firm with more than 420 consultants spread across 40 countries. He was a core member of the company that focused on advisory leadership in aviation, travel and hospitality, industrial, resources, clean tech and the energy practices.

A native of Chennai, Chandilya holds an MBA degree from the graduate business school INSEAD in France and from Tsinghua University, Beijing.

Recently, the Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had sought clarifications from AirAsia on the name of the new CEO.

Last month, the Government cleared AirAsia’s proposal to invest about Rs 80 crore to launch a domestic passenger airline jointly with Tata Sons Ltd. AirAsia, along with Tata Sons and Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace, has formed a 49:30:21 joint venture to start the airline in India that will be headquartered in Chennai.

Kapil Kaul, Chief Executive Officer Centre For Asia Pacific Aviation, said most of AirAsia’s top brass do not have aviation background. Incidentally, AirAsia promoter Tony Fernandes too had no aviation background when he started the low-cost airline.

(This article was published on May 15, 2013)
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