AirAsia India is aiming to launch international operations later this year, following the expansion of its fleet.
The Economic Times reported the low-cost carrier’s CEO, Amar Abrol, as saying that he is targeting a fleet size of 20 aircraft by September or October 2017, enabling it to launch international flights.
Under Indian regulations, airlines must have at least 20 aircraft before they are eligible to fly overseas. Previously, Indian carriers were also required to operate domestic routes for five years before going international, but this so-called “5/20” rule was eased last year.
AirAsia India launched its first flights in June 2014 and currently flies to 14 domestic destinations using a fleet of 10 Airbus A320 aircraft. This means that to achieve the international launch schedule targeted by Abrol, the LCC would have to double its fleet in the next two-to-three months. The AirAsia Group currently has outstanding orders for almost 400 Airbus aircraft.
AirAsia India’s international expansion is expected to commence with flights to destinations in Southeast Asia, where the AirAsia Group is already strong.
Last year, AirAsia India carried a total of 2.45 million passengers, which marked a 68% jump compared to 2015, with an average load factor of 86%. And Abrol said that the airline would adhere to its previous target of doubling its passenger traffic this year.