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Air Asia India eyes corporate clients, foreign flights


Delhi,National,Business/Economy


Author : Nirbhay Kumar

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New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Seeking long-term travel commitment, Tata Group joint venture Air Asia India plans to tie up with about 200 companies in the next few months, offering them a slew of benefits, including flexibility in last-minute flight change and onboard meals.

The aggressive business pitch is set to help the low-cost carrier widen its customer base before launching maiden international flights by year-end.

The airline is looking at Southeast Asian destinations, such as Bangkok and Singapore, for its overseas operations. The foreign flights would cover short-haul destinations with 3-4 hours of flying.

Speaking to IANS, Air Asia India Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sanjay Kumar said the airline had restructured some of its operations, launched a loyalty programme as well as a new in-flight menu to enhance customer experience.

"We have a new in-flight menu. We have also started a loyalty programme called Big Loyalty. We are the only low-cost airline in the country offering customers a structured loyalty programme, which allows them to earn reward points," said Kumar.

Talking about its corporate travel programme, the senior airline executive said most domestic airlines get 50 per cent of their customers from corporate travel programmes and Air Asia India's situation would not be different.

Air Asia India, which started operations in June 2014, is a joint venture between Tata Sons (holding 51 per cent stake) and AirAsia Berhad (holding the remaining 49 per cent shares).

The airline last week inducted 21st aircraft in its fleet, enhancing connectivity from its Delhi base.

"We have applied for permission to start international operations. With the induction of our 21st aircraft, all the necessary requirements are in place for an approval. We have completed five years of operations in the domestic market. Subject to regulatory approvals, we are planning to launch our international flights sometime in September-October," said the airline COO.

Air Asia India currently operates 164 flights a day, covering 19 destinations and carrying over 25,000 passengers.

(Nirbhay Kumar can be contacted at nirbhay.k@ians.in)

--IANS

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