AirAsia chief blames vested interests for stunted growth of Indian aviation industry

New Delhi, July 3 (ANI): AirAsia president Tony Fernandez on Wednesday said the Indian aviation sector was big enough to accommodate everyone, and added that skewed rules and vested interests were stunting its growth.

"It's an incredibly self vested industry and people have suffered because of it. There are some bizarre rules - five years before you can fly international. That doesn't happen anywhere else in the world and we all know which airlines did that come from. There are too many people who have vested interests and they don't think about what India needs. I think you can get involved in technicalities," said Fernandez.

Fernandez said AirAsia was entering India to expand the overall market and benefit the middle class, adding that airlines in India should focus on growth opportunities instead of indulging in negative practices.

"I am not here to take anyone's market shares. This is not a zero sum game and it is not about one airline. It is about 1.3 billion people here. This could be the largest AirAsia but I think the market is small and I think the aviation industry has not really captured all market. That's all we are after," said Fernandez.

Fernandez, currently on a media blitz across India, addressed a news conference in New Delhi after addressing a similar audience in Mumbai and Chennai, where he shared his vision on the growth of the Malaysian low-cost carrier in the Indian market.

He said the airline would initially focus on southern India and the head office would be based in Chennai. The airline would begin India operations by October.

AirAsia India is a joint venture between AirAsia, Tata Group and Telestra TradePlace with 49 percent, 30 percent and 21 percent stake, respectively. The proposal was cleared in March by the Indian government. (ANI)

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