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AirAsia and AirAsia X set to conquer Indian skies with aggressive expansion plan

Malaysia based AirAsia is trying to create aviation history with the launch of six new routes between India and Malaysia in rapid succession. In one more “conquering of Indian skies by storm”, the new services to key metro cities include Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi from Kuala Lumpur and from Penang to Chennai.

The Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad sectors will be serviced by AirAsia’s A320 aircraft, while Mumbai and Delhi will be served by long haul affiliate AirAsia X using its Airbus A330 fleet.

AirAsia operates 148 flights weekly between India and Malaysia — Tiruchirapplalli (Trichy), Kolkata, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum).

AirAsia intends to leverage its base in Malaysia and offer India passengers connections across ASEAN destinations in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia. It will also offer connections to Australia (Gold Coast, Perth, Melbourne), China (Hangzhou, Tianjin, Chengdu), Taipei. Whether AirAsia will be able to leverage west bound flights to London and Abu Dhabi is doubtful since this will add more than six hours to a ten hour India to Europe trip.

This aggressive entry will put significant price pressure on national carriers from ASEAN (Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways) as well as Indian carriers (Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines).

With the exception of Delhi, AirAsia will operate day flights on the new routes. The Bangalore schedule too, leaves much to be desired with a late 23:40 (11:40pm) arrival, effectively restricting immediate onward connections, which in turn will limit the potential traffic base.

Flight Schedules are:

Penang – Chennai (commencing 28 April 2010)
Penang to Chennai 08:15 / 09:15 AK 243 Daily
Chennai to Penang 09:55 / 15:55 AK 244 Daily

Kuala Lumpur – Mumbai (operated by AirAsia X commencing 6 May 2010)
Kuala Lumpur to Mumbai 09:20 / 12:00 D7 2516 Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun
Mumbai to Kuala Lumpur 13:20 / 21:00 D7 2517 Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun

Kuala Lumpur – Chennai (commencing 17 May 2010)
Kuala Lumpur to Chennai 06:30 / 07:45 AK 243 Daily
Chennai to Kuala Lumpur 08:25 / 14:40 AK 244 Daily

Kuala Lumpur – Bangalore (commencing 20 May 2010)
Kuala Lumpur to Bangalore 15:10 / 16:35 AK 211 Daily
Bangalore to Kuala Lumpur 17:15 / 23:40 AK 212 Daily

Kuala Lumpur – Hyderabad (commencing 20 July 2010)
Kuala Lumpur to Hyderabad 06:20 / 08:00 AK 223 Daily
Hyderabad to Kuala Lumpur 08:40 / 15:40 AK 224 Daily

Kuala Lumpur – Delhi (operated by AirAsia X commencing 4 August 2010)
Kuala Lumpur to Delhi 16:00 / 19:10 D7 2506 Daily
Delhi to Kuala Lumpur 20:25 / 04:35 D7 2507 Daily

AirAsia is offering very aggressive fares to mark the commencement of operations. For more information visit the AirAsia website.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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