AirAsia India has announced plans to strengthen its regional service today. Following the recent grounding of Jet Airways the airline plans to fulfill customer demand for destinations in key markets like Mumbai and Delhi by leasing nine narrow-bodied Airbus A320s by 2020 — taking its domestic fleet number up to thirty.
The airline, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Malaysia-based AirAsia Berhad, received eight slots at Mumbai airport that were earlier operated by Jet. AirAsia has gained 40 basis points (bps) to 6.3% between March and May mainly on account of Jet’s grounding from April 17. Low-cost carrier SpiceJet has been aggressively adding aircraft to operate on Jet’s vacant routes. It has inducted over 30 aircraft, earlier flown by the full-service carrier.
According to aviation consultancy firm Capa India, around 800 weekly slots have become available in Delhi and Mumbai alone, creating opportunities for airlines to increase their presence in these important markets.
AirAsia has been awaiting civil aviation ministry’s nod for international operations since January. The carrier’s overseas permit is held up due to ongoing investigations into alleged lobbying for change in government’s foreign flying norms for domestic carriers. This relates to scrapping of 5/20 rule in June 2016.