Air Asia India to fly abroad from Bengaluru or Kolkata; first flight likely by end-2018

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018

Amar Abrol

Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok may be initial destinations

Air Asia India will begin its international foray from the eastern seaboard of India, linking Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, the company’s MD and CEO Amar Abrol has indicated. The flights to both the destinations are likely to be daily services.

This is the first time that the airline has revealed the international routes it will look to operate on.

“We will look at launching from either Bengaluru or Kolkata. We are seeking some clarifications from the government. The flights will begin end of 2018,” Abrol told BusinessLine in an exclusive interview. “All things being equal, we are looking at September-October, that will allow us to fly (international) by the end of the year or, worst case scenario, we early 2019. It depends on the induction of planes.”

The Centre stipulates that an Indian carrier must have a fleet of at least 20 aircraft to be eligible to apply for permission to fly abroad. AirAsia inducted its 14th Airbus A-320 on December 8 and hopes to grow its fleet size to 21 aircraft by the end of 2018.

It has a fleet of A-320 aircraft which can fly to international destinations which are up to four hours away from India. This opens up the possibility of Air Asia India flying to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and a host of other countries in South-East Asia as also to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and several other cities in West Asia.

The airline could also look at connecting cities in China like Guanzhou from India, Abrol said during a free-wheeling conversation on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN Connectivity Summit.

AirAsia is a known brand in the Chinese market, which is a sizeable advantage, he observed.

Published on December 12, 2017

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