Taking a dig at Kingfisher Airlines, AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes quipped, "Vijay went from a low-cost to a premium to a
long-haul airline, short-haul airlines, turbo pop; it's all mixed up like bad biryani."
The comment was made during Fernandes' announcement on Monday regarding the low-cost carrier's aggressive plans to boost its Indian affiliate's fleet by adding 10 planes a year and focused operations on the country's under-utilised airports, reports CNBC-TV18.
India's low-cost aviation sector is developing slowly, with the three main budget carriers operating only about 130 planes across the country of over a billion people. AirAsia will initially concentrate on southern India from its base in Chennai before expanding to other parts of the country, Fernandes said.
Its main competitor out of Chennai will be domestic low-cost carrier SpiceJet, while other Indian low-fare carriers include IndiGo and GoAir. The domestic tourism market will play a big part in the airline's success, said Fernandes. "India will become a very big hub for us eventually," said Fernandes.
The airline will offer only domestic services, as under Indian regulations the country's carriers cannot fly on international routes until they have at least five aircraft and have clocked up five years of operations.
(With inputs from Reuters)