Anil Thakraney: AirAsia: Will shake up Indian skies

22 Feb,2013

By Anil Thakraney

 

AirAsia’s decision to fly into Indian skies is great news, both, for the newly formed venture that will run the desi operations, and for the Indian flyers. AirAsia is purely a low-cost carrier, that’s the market they understand, that’s their expertise. And the Indian market has been crying out for another low-cost airline so that the ticket pricing gets more realistic. So that train travellers can start taking air travel a little more seriously. For example, if last-minute travel from Mumbai to Bangalore costs me Rs 8,000, we certainly aren’t talking low cost out here. In any case, competition is always good, and with Kingfisher as good as dead, there is an opportunity for a new player.

 

AirAsia has tied up with the Tatas, which is also good news. This means the Tata Group will return to the airline business after decades, after their exit from what is now called Air India. The group will want to ensure the project shines, their name is on the line. And Tony Fernandes of AirAsia is a kickass airline man. He inherited a bleeding airline in the year 2001, and turned it around within a year. This isn’t a liquor baron who’s decided to suddenly fly, Fernandes is a hardcore airline man. Which is why this team gives me huge hope. And you do need a power team like this to deal with all the problems that operating in India comes with, mainly high fuel costs and crazy taxes.

 

I believe they will initially fly in the smaller cities and towns, but am guessing that strategy is to test the Indian waters (or skies, in this case), and am sure within a year AirAsia will connect the metro towns, that’s where the traffic lies. If I wish to fly Mumbai to Delhi, and have taken that decision three days earlier, and if the ticket price is about three thousand rupees, we have a sure winner here.

 

Net net: A great team, perfect timing, correct product offering and a desperate need in the marketplace. This is one venture that can’t possibly go wrong. And sadly, Dr Mallya will have to grab a Kingfisher beer and watch AirAsia’s aircraft take to the skies. And ponder over what might have been. Alas!

 

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PS: Meanwhile, here’s what’s happening with the Indian carriers. With too much free time on hand, and being stuck with ‘aunty’ air hostesses, Air India pilots are looking for fun elsewhere. This dude decided to write an obscene rap song and also star in it. Of course, the video’s gone viral, of course, the pilot’s in trouble, but who cares? We, the janata, are funding all this nonsense. One more reason why an AirAsia is badly needed here. We want pilots, not rappers. Anyway, it’s a fun video, enjoy!

 

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One response to “Anil Thakraney: AirAsia: Will shake up Indian skies”

  1. Guest says:

    Unclear how much profit an airline would earn by pricing a Bombay – Bangalore ticket at 3k.

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