With AirAsia getting an operating permit from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Wednesday, the new carrier is set to start operations by July, report fe Bureaus in Mumbai and New Delhi. In the process, it becomes the first airline to enter the domestic market under the government’s new policy unveiled in September 2012 allowing foreign carriers to have up to 49% stake in Indian airlines.
“We have granted the Air Operator’s Permit (AOP or flying licence) to AirAsia India, subject to the final decision of the high court and that is under the directions of the Supreme Court,” DGCA chief Prabhat Kumar said.
The low-fare airline’s CEO, Mittu Chandilya was ecstatic on receiving the permit after a six-month-long legal battle in the Delhi High Court that delayed its launch plan and tweeted, “Boom! 1815Hrs (IST) today AirAsia India was born. So proud of my team. Who is ready to revolutionise Air Travel in India.”
Tony Fernandes, the chief executive of the airline’s parent company, Malaysian carrier AirAsia, tweeted: “History has been made today in aviation. Everything has been hard for AirAsia but we never give up. Today AirAsia India has got approval.”
“Our CEO @MittuChandilya with Air Operators permit. What a battle that was. Proud day for me and all AirAsia stars,” he said in a following tweet.
AirAsia India is a joint venture between the Malaysia-based low-fare airline, the Tata Group and investment firm Telestra Tradeplace. It plans to use Airbus A320 planes.
AirAsia India has promised to offer low and competitive airfares and would have Chennai as its hub and initially focus on connecting tier-II cities. It recently completed final inspections, including proving flights of its Airbus A320, monitored by the DGCA. These test flights went on for over 10 hours across five sectors as per DGCA regulations.