Air Asia to launch first ever international flight out of Port Blair

The airline says India is one of its most critical markets


India is one of the most critical markets for Air Asia which would be launching the first ever international flight out of Port Blair in the Andamans in the next three months. In 2024 Air Asia aims to carry 2.8 million passengers out of India. In terms of seat capacity in India, Air Asia expects it to be over 20 per cent of what it was before the pandemic. These observations were made by Paul Carroll, the Chief Commercial Officer of Air Asia while talking to media persons in Bengaluru. 

“Besides the metros, we are focused on secondary cities as well. More destinations will be added over the next six months in India and by December 2024 we hope to have close to 200 weekly round trip flights from India,” remarked Carroll. 

He said that Air Asia as an airline had come a long way ever since it started operations from Malaysia in 2001 having served close to a billion guests and having flights to 22 countries worldwide. 

“In India we have risen to become one of the largest foreign airlines with one of the most extensive network in the country. We operate over 20 daily flights across 16 cities in India. The year 2024 has been a year of growth for us in India as we steadily come back from the challenging period of the pandemic with more than ten destinations launched in 2024 and more to come. We have direct connectivity from India to our Asian hubs of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Bangkok in Thailand serving as a gateway to our worldwide destinations,” said Carroll. 

He further informed that the airline flies A 330 aircraft from Delhi and Amritsar and offers a premium product in this sector. He said that Air Asia has also invested in new aircrafts and have A 321 and A 321 neos coming up in the next few years. The business model of Air Asia is, however, going to be a low cost one and there are no plans to be in the premium segment. 

“Our business model has been consistent ever since we started our operations more than two decades ago. We are a low cost carrier. We obviously keep costs low to offer those to the consumers. Our ambition is to always have the lowest fares in the market. We will continue to stimulate demand in the Indian market and will continue to offer low fares going forward in this market. We do not have any ambition to be in the premium segment. Prior to Covid we were operating from 10 destinations in India and post that by August this year we would have scaled up to 16 destinations in the country. We recently added Guwahati, Lucknow and Ahmedabad, and Port Blair will be our next destination. We do not operate the domestic airline in the country anymore. Our focus is on ASEAN and beyond towards Australia,” said Carroll. 

The airline is also bringing in a cinematic in-flight experience to 130 cinemas across 12 cities in India where movie-goers will have the chance to win flights to any of its 130 destinations. For this it has partnered with Qube Cinemas so that this experience can be shared in 130 cinemas across India for the next six months. The aim is to connect with movie-goers who are also travel lovers through this initiative. 

Beyond India, AirAsia recently opened new routes to Almaty in Central Asia in March and Nairobi in Africa last week. The airline had commenced its first India-Malaysia route from Tiruchirapalli to Kuala Lumpur in 2008. 

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