AirAsia India scales up workforce by over 50 per cent

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NEW DELHI: Budget carrier AirAsia India has scaled up its workforce by more than 50 per cent to 1,050 people in the last one year as the airline looks to fly overseas and expand its fleet.

The existing workforce not only meets the current requirement but will also cater to future demand, AirAsia India CEO and MD Amar Abrol said during an informal interaction here.

“We grew from 650 odd people to about 1,050 (since March 2016). It covers about 12 aircraft (operations) from cabin crew and engineers’ perspective and about 10-11 aircraft from the pilots’ perspective,” Abrol said.

AirAsia India, which is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Malaysian airline group AirAsia, currently has a fleet of eight Airbus A320 planes.

It operates 58 flights per day to 13 domestic airports with Delhi and Bengaluru as its two bases.

Abrol also said that the airline plans to induct six more aircraft in this calendar year, while another six planes are expected to be added in the fleet by the middle of next year.

“We will expand from the current eight planes to fourteen by October depending on the business performance,” he added.

Once the airline has 20 aircraft in its fleet it will qualify to fly international as per the regulations.

AirAsia India also plans to induct the latest single aisle aircraft from Airbus, the A 320 Neo, in its fleet next year.

Asserting that AirAsia India will fly overseas most likely from the second half of the next calendar year, Abrol said, “there is a whole host of work which we need to do before we start flying international.”

“There is a project team which is already working to get AirAsia India ready for overseas operations, which is likely to commence either from next summer or at the most by autumn.”

Abrol said the airline will look at international destinations which are in the radius of four to four-and-a -half hours from India to begin with, adding, “Naturally our strength lies in the east. So, look east will be the first port of call whenever we fly abroad”.

On the domestic front, AirAsia India’s strategy will be connecting tier-2 cities with metros he said, while emphasising that the domestic market offers ample opportunities for the airline.

AirAsia India has opened two new routes (Srinagar and Bagdogra from Delhi last month) and is also setting up Kolkata as its third base where it plans to station three planes.

There are also plans to connect the northeastern region with Kolkata and then potentially connect eastern region with the western region, he said.