AirAsia eyes expanded operations base in India

Low-cost carrier AirAsia is looking at multiple bases in the south, including Chennai, Bangalore and Kochi, as it prepares to launch operations in the country.

Tony Fernandes, CEO of the company, refused to speculate on the time needed for the airline to start operations in the country, but said it would offer low fares even at jet fuel prices of Rs70,000 per kilolitre.

Fernandes, who along with Ratan Tata, advisor to the AirAsia India board, met civil aviation minister Ajit Singh on Monday to brief him about the latest appointments and other developments in the proposed airline, said he will make sure that flying is not elite.

"We came to apprise the minister about the developments that have taken place and our visit to Chennai (headquarters of the proposed airline)," Fernandes said after a meeting with Ajit Singh at his official residence.

The two were accompanied by senior Tata officials and AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya and others.

''My new pilot Sir Ratan Tata flying me to Delhi. Another way AirAsia cuts costs,'' Fernandes tweeted in the morning.

Fernandes along with AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya today met commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma.

Tata Group holds a 30 per cent stake in Air Asia India in which Air Asia has 49 per cent stake and Arun Bhatia of Telestra TradePlace holds 21 per cent equity.