AirAsia India gets aviation ministry's no-objection certificate

Malaysian no-frills airline AirAsia has received a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the civil aviation ministry for its proposal to set up a new airline based in Chennai.

The NOC from the ministry would enable the proposed joint venture AirAsia India to import the three aircraft from its existing fleet necessary to start operations.

AirAsia India is being set up as a joint venture with Tata Sons holding 30 per cent stake and Arun Bhatia-promoted Telestra Tradeplace 21 per cent. The initial investment approved for the airline is Rs80.98 crore.

"I am thrilled to announce that AirAsia India has received NOC approval from the government of India. Very exciting and hugely profitable. I want to praise the Government of India for quickest approval ever in granting NOC for AirAsia India," Tony Fernandes, AirAsia's founder and chief executive, wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

Fernandes said AirAsia India chief executive Mittu Chandilya and his team have been coordinating the tasks towards operationalising the new airline.

"We are very thankful to the ministry of civil aviation for granting the no objection certificate to us so quickly. This is the fastest NOC that has been granted and with this, we will focus on obtaining the air operating permit," said Chandilya.

Chandilya said the focus would now be on obtaining an operating permit from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which would help the airline start operations from the country.

"We will continue with our preparations and get ourselves ready for take-off once the air operating permit is acquired," Chandilya said.

AirAsia India proposes to start operations out of Chennai, initially using three A320 aircraft and a staff of over 200, providing connectivity to tier II and tier III cities, according to the application submitted by the airline.

The airline has projected a fleet of 37 aircraft over the next five years.

It has already received approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in April and the necessary security clearance from the home ministry.

With regulatory clearance from the civil aviation ministry now, the airline only needs the DGCA's nod to start operations.

AirAsia India will be the seventh scheduled airline in the country after Air India, Jet Airways, Jet Lite, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir.

The operating licence of Kingfisher Airlines was suspended last year.