Mumbai: AirAsia India will start flying from June 12, its chief of its Malaysian parent company said Thursday, ending months of wait for passengers eager to fly the airline which claims to be bringing in the cheapest air tickets in the country.

“Very very proud to announce AirAsia India open for sale tomorrow. Wow. First flight June 12th. See you all In India on the 12th,” Tony Fernandes posted from his Twitter account.

On May 8, the airline got its flying permit from the DGCA, clearing its final regulatory hurdle. The airline, set up as a joint venture between its Malaysian parent AirAsia Berhad, Tata Sons and private investor Arun Bhatia, announced its plans on February 19.

In his tweet, Fernandes’ didn’t write about which sector the airline would be flying first. But on Monday it sent a letter to travel agents saying Bangalore-Goa was the “only sector available”. It has its base in Chennai.
AirAsia’s entry is slated to heat up competition in the Indian skies, currently dominated in terms of marketshare by low fare carriers such as IndiGo, Go Air and SpiceJet.

Its India CEO Mittu Chandilya had in a recent interview said it will offer fares 30%-35% lower than the average fares of its rivals
In his interview, Chandilya had said the first flight would “possibly” be out of Chennai but that may change.

AirAsia India will most likely fly to all metros but exclude Mumbai.

“Our network isn’t finalised yet but we are looking at a 60:40 ratio of Tier II routes to metro routes with 60 being Tier II,” he had said.

But AirAsia will also be entering a market, in which a majority of the carriers are bleeding under heavy losses, owing to high fuel costs, discounted prices and a weak rupee.
Earlier this week, India’s second biggest carrier Jet AirwaysBSE -3.14 % posted a record standalone loss Rs 2,154 crore for the Jan-March quarter. On May 17, SpiceJetBSE -0.27 % announced its quarterly loss rose five times to Rs 321 crore while while annual losses rose surged more than five fold to a record high of Rs 1003 crore.