Viewpoint

AirAsia slams India’s rules – before entering the market

AirAsia is set to launch its Indian operations in October this year but its CEO, Tony Fernandes, was quick to knock the country’s aviation policy during a press conference yesterday.

He criticised the rule which stops home country airlines with less than five years flying and fewer than 20 aircraft from operating outside of the country.

“If I have one aircraft I can fly into India, but an airline with less than 20 cannot fly out. That is a disadvantage to Indian carriers,” he told the press conference.

AirAsia India is to start flying to South Indian destinations including Bengaluru and Kochi this October under a $30m joint venture with Tata Group and Telesta Tradeplace.

However, India’s Janata party chief Subramaniam Swamy has allegedly claimed the tie-up, along with a number of India’s other aviation deals, is ‘fraudulent’, and has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to say as much.

Fernandes hit back during his media conference saying: “People have suffered because of bizarre rules… India has lost many years because of vested interest, which is shameful. Other Asian markets have grown and are much [further] ahead.”

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