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‘5/20 Rule Should Be Abolished’

Mittu Chandilya, CEO and MD of AirAsia India, spoke to BW Businessworld’s Haider Ali Khan about the 5/20 rule and his airline

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Mittu Chandilya, CEO and MD of AirAsia India, spoke to BW Businessworld about the 5/20 rule and his airline. Excerpts:

Q: Tell us about your journey from being a model, an entrepreneur, a management consultant to becoming the CEO of AirAsia India?
A: I have believed in following my passion. I have always aimed to excel in everything that I do.
That has given me an opportunity to break barriers both in my personal and professional life, and reach out to achieve my goals. Having lived and worked across the world in diverse roles prepared me enough to come back home and take upon the exciting role of heading an airline.
Running an airline business is exhilarating and challenging at the same time.

Q: Is it the best time to lead AirAsia India?

A: The timing is never wrong to be in the Indian aviation space. AirAsia India is my baby and nothing has deterred my spirit in working towards revolutionising the Indian skies. I always talk of converting challenges into opportunities. It’s been about a year and a half now, and I am proud of the kind of service and product that we have offered to the Indian fliers so far and will continue to work towards our motto ‘Now Everyone Can Fly’.

Q: What is your take on the 5/20 rule. Should it stay or you want any relaxation?
A: The 5/20 rule should be abolished completely. It is a regressive rule that does no good to any airline that is trying to offer easy connectivity.

Q: How do you plan to remain competitive in the domestic market?
A: Our strategy has always been to offer best service, friendly crew and the advantage of locations, which most of the other airlines don’t. Often, we come up with promotional and seasonal offers for our guests. We look at this as a stimulation of the market during the low season.

Low fares will boost bookings, but we don’t see this as an airfare war. With the entrance of our airline, the overall fares in the market have come down and they have become competitive. Big sale and promotional offers work with flyers, who are planning their trips in advance.

Q: What are the future expansion plans of AirAsia India?
A: Delhi and Bengaluru are two of our hubs and we have been getting multiple requests from our guests from these regions on enhanced connectivity to the destinations we fly to. We hope to provide more connectivity and choice in terms of flight times.

Q: Where do you see AirAsia India one year down the line?
A: We will introduce more revolutionising ancillary products and services like a new in-flight menu, electronic gift voucher, extra seat option, etc. This year our focus will still remain to give our customers the best in a cost effective way.

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