AirAsia Group to enter insurance business

Last Updated: Thu, Jul 04, 2013 04:22 hrs

AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes is looking to enter India's insurance market through Tune Money. The venture will be separate from the airline business.

"Apart from our airline venture, we have low cost hotels and are also planning to grow our insurance business in India. A separate team is working on this business which will provide travel, accidents and personal insurance", Fernandes said. The Group has a Tune Hotel operational in Gujarat. He further added that he is looking at leveraging the Tata Group's retail base to expand its sales operations in the country. "We can find a way to book tickets on the internet for which, payments can be made within a day at the Tata Group's retail stores. The idea is to allow customers who do not own credit cards to purchase tickets online. We will also encourage the use of prepaid cards." While Expedia would continue to be at the forefront of AirAsia's distribution set-up, the airline would not preclude other modes of boosting sales.

Over the next five years AirAsia would look at lowering fares to boost air travel in the country. "I want to offer fares which would make people want to start flying, that's the benchmark. The person who has to go to a funeral is the best customer, he has to go. He won't get a free seat. But we would offer free tickets to those consumers who are undecided about flying. We would earn from carriage of baggage, selling food, insurance, hotel booking on-board and that's better than having an empty seat," Fernandes said.

AirAsia India would stay away from gourmet cuisine and its menu will include fresh bread and hot food like biryani.

He said that Deccan Airlines had got the pricing right but went down as it did not have the balance sheet and people priced it out of the market.

He also said that Air India was a fantastic product, but it should not be run by the government. However, he added that he was not interested in picking up a stake in Air India.

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