AirAsia India to start flying from October, bring down fares

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) AirAsia is hopeful of making flying in India more affordable by bringing down airfares and improving networks, chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said Tuesday.

He said the company is aiming to launch its operation in India from October.

"We came to apprise the minister about the developments that have taken place," Fernandes told reporters after meeting Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh at his official residence here.

Fernandes along with AirAsia India advisor Ratan Tata and chief executive Mittu Chandilya also held separate meetings with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma in a bid to speed up clearances for the low-cost airline.

Over four months ago the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) cleared a proposal for setting up a new airline, AirAsia India.

Malaysian carrier AirAsia has formed a joint venture with Tata Group and Arun Bhatia-run Telestra TradePlace to launch its operation in India. In the joint venture firm, AirAsia controls 49 percent, Tata 30 percent and Telestra 21 percent stake.

The company has already got green signal from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

Ajit Singh said AirAsia would get all the government clearances soon.

The minister said AirAsia has applied to the civil aviation ministry for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) and given the names of all top new appointees for security clearance to the home ministry.

"They are working on that. When they get security clearance, they will apply to the DGCA. I don't expect that it will take too long," Ajit Singh said.

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