INDIA’S Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) last week granted AirAsia India its air operator permit, paving way for the new carrier to commence flights soon and increase competition in the country's aviation sector.
Having started its aircraft acquisition, the Chennai-based airline is expected to begin flights by 4Q2014, with its first scheduled domestic routes likely to be announced in the coming weeks.
The entry of AirAsia India has received opposition from existing Indian carriers against the government's liberalisation policy for foreign carriers (TTG Asia e-Daily, April 14, 2014) and concerns that the new entrant’s low-cost pricing policy will wreak havoc in a market already squeezed by high fuel prices and taxes.
AirAsia India’s earlier plans to commence flights in October 2013 were delayed (TTG Asia e-Daily, July 4, 2013), despite having received approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board of India in April 2013 and a no-objection certificate from DGCA in September 2013.
Meanwhile, IATA Agents Association of India’s director-eastern region, Rajendra Churiwala, said that "consumers will benefit from AirAsia India's truly low-cost model".