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Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel

In quick time the budget airline Air Asia India has launched its services from Bengaluru. The first flight from Bengaluru to Goa was flown on 12 June. The gleaming new A320 flight was flown to its full capacity of 180. On 19 June, flights to Chennai were introduced. The next sector, of Bengaluru-Kochi, is slated to begin next month.

    Air Asia has earned a reputation for offering low airfares. Based in Kuala Lumpur, this budget airline offers services to countries in the ASEAN and other Asian cities. Services to India have become quite popular for their efficiency and low cost.  Other budget airlines look at this new entrant to the Indian skies after a long time with trepidation.  Mittu Chandilya, CEO, points to the cheap promotional fares that attracted huge custom from first time flyers. The company sold 10 per cent of tickets for the first flight at Rs 5 per ticket (excluding taxes), 40 per cent of tickets at just Rs 990, and the balance at Rs 1900 per ticket.  Remember Air Deccan doing such a promotion that compelled the other airlines to follow suit? In fact, such an approach brought about a revolution in air travel, permitting large new class of travellers to take to air travel and to a huge increase in the number of air travellers. Sadly,

recent years witnessed a reversal of this trend with airfares hitting the roof. The immediate impact of the entry of Air Asia India is to compel other airlines also to lower their fares.

Air Asia India will operate with Bengaluru as the hub

The high rate of taxes on aviation turbine fuel (29 per cent in Karnataka) and airport charges has been deterrents to a rapid growth in air travel. If the Centre and the state governments address this issue, air travel can witness the type of spectacular growth it recorded a decade ago when Air Deccan revolutionised air travel.

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