Asia's Biggest Discount Airline Takes on India

An AirAsia India Airbus A320 takes off as it embarks on the carrier's inaugural domestic flight to Goa from the Kempe Gowda International Airport in Bangalore on June 12 Photograph by Manjunath Kiran/AFP via Getty Images

After successfully building the largest low-cost airline in Southeast Asia, AirAsia’s chief executive, Tony Fernandes, is taking on one of his biggest challenges yet: Making money in a country with some of the highest operating costs in Asia. Today, AirAsia India, a joint venture with Tata Sons and Telestra Tradeplace, began flying in India, where a crowded market and high costs have pushed several major carriers into the red. Because of high jet fuel taxes and airport charges, operating an airline in India can cost as much as 60 percent more than in nearby countries, KPMG India partner Amber Dubey said on Bloomberg Television today.

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