AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes criticises 5/20 aviation rule, 4th plane inducted in India
Mumbai: AirAsia India seems to be very enthused with its expansion chances in the Indian market. The airlines showcased its fourth aircraft for the Indian market that is being inducted to give better reach to the low cost airliner.
The airline has amazingly been dedicated to the legendary Indian businessman and industrialist JRD Tata, as a mark of respect to the pioneer of civil aviation.
While talking about the new aircraft and its naming behind RJD Tata Mittu Chandilya, CEO, AirAsia India says â€œWe wanted to celebrate the growth of AirAsia India by honoring the man without whom flying would have been impossible in Indiaâ€.
It is customary in the aviation industry to name aircraft after eminent personalities and places.
The AirAsia aircraft has been named ‘The Pioneer’. The plane bears an image of JRD Tata with a Pussy Moth, the aircraft which he flew on October 15, 1932, leading to the birth of Tata Airlines and flagging off civil aviation in the sub-continent.
The airline company that launched its operations in the country late last year is a joint venture between AirAsia Bhd of Malaysia, which holds a 49% stake and Tata Sons, which has 30%. Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace holds the remaining stake. AirAsia, which had earlier spoken of making a break-even by November last year, is now talking May or June. There are reports that the company is all set to buy as many as 10 more planes in the current year. It needs a capitalisation of $30 million by 2016, company officials are said to have confessed.
In the meantime AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes on Saturday criticised the â€˜5/20 ruleâ€™ in India that mandates a domestic carrier to be five-year-old and have a fleet of 20 aircraft being allowed to fly on international routes…Fernandes told reporters here that he has not seen such a rule anywhere else in the world. â€œIt (the rule) would mean less economic activity as aviation has been a key growth generator for other countries like Singapore and Dubai.â€
While talking about the new rule he said, â€œAirlines have been inefficient in India but I donâ€™t think we should be punished for 2-3 airlines making losses. World over aviation profits are on a highâ€. Without referring to some domestic airlines who are opposing the 5/20 restriction being lifted, Fernandes said, â€œAirASia will fight those who try to protect the status quo by lobbying for antiquated rules. Indian people must be put first before those who just lobby to protect their own bottom line as opposed to competing.â€