AirAsia CEO assures 'nano fares', plans Oct launch

AirAsia Group chief Tony Fernandes today reaffirmed his promise of offering 'nano fares', as he accompanied Tata Group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata to meet civil aviation minister Ajit Singh here.

"We came to apprise the minister about the developments that have taken place (since FIPB cleared the proposal)," said Fernandes, who was also accompanied by AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya.

Singh said that the Group has applied for a no-objection certificate (NoC) from the civil aviation ministry and submitted names of all top new appointees for security clearance to the home ministry. "When they get security clearance, they will apply to the DGCA for flying permit. I don't expect that it will take too long," Singh said.

Besides meeting the aviation minister, Fernandes, Tata and Chandilya also held separate meetings with finance minister P Chidambaram, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and commerce minister Anand Sharma through the day. They requested the home minister to expedite clearances for their venture, saying they aimed to launch it by October.

Shinde, after meeting the delegation said, "They came here for security clearance... We will examine (their application) and take a call as soon as possible."

Fernandes said that AirAsia would not fly to high-cost airports such as Delhi and Mumbai. "Almost 50 per cent of the air travel market is between Delhi and Mumbai. We will try to rebalance that so that India has a more equal distribution of air traffic. We will offer 'nano' fares even if ATF prices rise to Rs 70,000 per kilo litre," he said.

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