Mittu Chandilya appointed chief executive of AirAsia India

Mumbai, May 15 (IANS) Proposed airline AirAsia India Wednesday appointed Singapore-based Mittu Chandilya as its chief executive.

“I am pleased to announce the board of AirAsia India has appointed Mittu Chandilya as CEO of AirAsia India,” tweeted Tony Fernandes, Air Asia’s Indian-origin founder and chief executive.

“Mittu is coming home to change Indian travel and make it affordable for all Indians to fly.”

Chandilya, 32, was earlier head of services practices at consulting firm Egon Zehnder International based out of Singapore from October 2009.

He holds a master of business administration (MBA) from the prestigious graduate business school INSEAD in France.

The appointment of Chandilya fulfills a key condition for getting permission for starting operations from the home and civil aviation ministries.

The government March 26, 2013 had approved AirAsia’s proposal to set up a new airline in the Indian civil aviation sector with partners Tata Group and Arun Bhatia-promoted Telestra Tradeplace.

The initial investment approved for the airline stands at Rs.80.98 crore. The approval allows the budget carrier to roll out the seventh scheduled domestic carrier in the Indian skies.

On March 6, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) recommended to the government that it approve the AirAsia proposal.

Currently, there are six scheduled domestic airlines in the country — Air India, Jet Airways, Jet Lite, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir. The operating licence of Kingfisher Airlines was suspended last year.

In its proposal, AirAsia said it intended to hold 49 percent stake in the JV. While Tata Sons will hold a 30 percent stake and Telestra Tradeplace 21 percent.

Incidentally, India’s first carrier was Tata Airlines, which took flight in 1932. In 1953, it was nationalised and renamed Air India. In the mid-1990s, the Tatas tried to start an airline with Singapore International Airlines, but did not succeed.

The other JV partner, Arun Bhatia, runs aviation parts manufacturing company Hindustan Aerosystems in New Delhi.

The low-cost carrier will operate from Chennai and focus on providing connectivity to smaller cities with a small fleet initially. It plans to start operations by the end of this year.

The approval follows a change in foreign capital investment in Indian domestic aviation sector with the government last year allowing foreign airlines to invest up to 49 percent in private domestic carriers.

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