AirAsiaX to relaunch India flights, seeks more flying rights

Sunday, Jan 17, 2016,14:40 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Pitching for additional flying rights ahead of its re-entry in the Indian market next month, Malaysia’s AirAsia X, the long-haul arm of budget carrier AirAsia Berhad, says it plans to provide greater connectivity to Australia and North Asia via Kuala Lumpur from here in its second coming. The carrier, which had opted out of Delhi and Mumbai routes in early 2012 citing high airport costs, also said it may look at launching flights to the Malaysian capital from other airports like Ahmedabad and Amritsar as well.

AirAsia X has announced resumption of its Delhi flight from February 3, which will be operated four times a week. The airports are supportive. The only issue we may have is the bilateral flying rights constraints in adding frequencies… We want our government to talk with the Indian Government to open more bilaterals, AirAsia X Berhad Chief Executive Officer Ben Ismail told. Ismail said while the Malaysian carriers have exhausted their weekly seat entitlements, their Indian counterparts have not. So it may be hard for Indian government to justify more traffic rights but we are trying to support the whole industry by seeking more flying rights.

Significantly, AirAsia X demand for additional traffic rights comes at a time when its sister company AirAsia India, along with another carrier Vistara, is lobbying hard with the government to lift the restriction on international flying by the domestic carriers. As per prevailing rules, a domestic carrier is allowed to fly overseas only when it has completed five years of domestic operations and have a minimum of 20 aircraft fleet. Both AirAsia India and Vistara do not meet these requirements.