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AirAsia applies for operational clearance

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Thu, Apr 25, 2013 11:00 hrs

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia's Indian subsidiary has sought the government's permission to launch its operations with a few aircraft.

The low cost carrier (LCC) filed an application with the civil aviation ministry Tuesday (April 23) to start its India operations, official sources said Thursday.

The airline had started the process to hire pilots and cabin crew earlier this month.

The airline in its application proposed to start operations with a few aircraft and eventually operate around 37 in the next five years.

Earlier, the LCC had said that it will operate from Chennai and focus on providing connectivity to tier-II and -III cities. It plans to start operations by the end of this year.

In its proposal to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), AirAsia said it intended to hold 49 percent stake in the joint venture (JV), while Tata Sons will hold a 30 percent stake and Arun Bhatia-promoted Telestra Tradeplace 21 percent.

On March 26, the government had approved the Malaysian budget carrier's proposal to set up a new airline in the civil aviation sector on the recommendation of the FIPB.

The approval has allowed the budget carrier to roll out the seventh scheduled domestic carrier in the Indian skies, after receiving regulatory clearance from civil aviation ministry.

Currently, there are six scheduled domestic airlines in the country -- Air India, Jet Airways, Jet Lite, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir. The operating licence of Kingfisher Airlines was suspended last year.

The approval had come after a change in the foreign capital investment in Indian domestic aviation sector initiated by the government last year by allowing foreign airlines to invest up to 49 percent in private domestic carriers.

The foreign carriers were so far not allowed to directly invest in Indian carriers for security reasons although 49 percent FDI by non-airline players was allowed.

Currently, AirAsia has a fleet of 118 aircraft and has ordered 350 planes to service its network.

Through its operations based in Thailand and Malaysia, the airline flies to Chennai, Bangalore, Tiruchirappalli, Kochi and Kolkata.

The initial investment approved for the airline stands at Rs.80.98 crore, the ministry said.




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