AirAsia's Fernandes encourages more commercial thinking in India; seeks JV
AirAsia CEO, Tony Fernandes, stated Indian LCCs need to stop giving up too quickly and expand their focus to non-metro destinations in order to survive (Live Mint, 06-Apr-2010/DNA, 07-May-2010). Mr Fernandes also stated India needs to be more willing to open its skies and make more bilaterals available, as “having less air links will cost a country more”. The CEO commented that if India allowed foreign airlines to invest in local carriers he would be interested in a floating JV in the country.
AirAsia: “I would say just stick with it. Don’t give up quickly. All I have heard in India is that the low-cost business cannot work here. People keep asking me how will you make it work, as India’s low-cost business is very different. There are a billion people here and most of them use trains everyday, so … One major thing that has been wrong is that they all focused on metros and we went to Trichy first. People thought I must be completely nuts, but that totally worked. There are tonnes of routes in India that have never been done, tonnes of airports that are under-utilised. Paramount is one impressive airline, wrong aircraft I think, but right model. And then there are the flamboyant ones, who say that they will change the world. The difference is that they are not involved in running the business day-to-day. This business requires focussed attention and you got to manage it,” Tony Fernandes, CEO. Source: DNA, 07-May-2010.