Budget airline AirAsia on Wednesday appointed Singapore-based management consultant Mittu Chandilya as the chief executive officer (CEO) of its Indian operations.
AirAsia’s mercurial founder and Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said that following the approval of AirAsia India’s board, Chandilya has been appointed as CEO.
In a Twitter posting, Fernandes added, "Mittu is coming home to change Indian travel and make it affordable for all Indians to fly." Chandilya will assume office next month.
The 32-year-old Chandilya's appointment was made last month when Fernandes in an earlier tweet had said, "Selected the CEO for AirAsia India. A very smart boy from the South, Madras. An amazing CV will impress all."
In a separate statement, Fernandes described Chandilya as an "outstanding young man with great entrepreneurial skills", who is "very passionate" about the LCC (Low Cost Carrier) business and "possesses the crucial understanding on how our business model works”.
"India is an important market for us," said Fernandes, adding that a CEO of Mittu's stature and business acumen would definitely help in attaining significant market share and achieving rapid growth in India.
Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons Ratan Tata whose group and Arun Bhatia-promoted Telestra Tradeplace are partnering with AirAsia for a domestic airline in India, complimented Chandilya and hoped his entry into the company will help the airline grow."I am confident that Mittu will provide the leadership and bring to bear his entrepreneurial skills in successfully growing this new airline," Tata said.
The appointment of Chandilya fulfills a key condition for getting permission for starting operations from the home and civil aviation ministries.
Chandilya was earlier head of the services practices at consulting firm Egon Zehnder International based out of Singapore from October 2009. He grew up in India, Africa and the US, holds a bachelor of science degree in business and economics from Lehigh University, USA. He also holds a master of business administration (MBA) from INSEAD in France and Tsinghua University, Beijing.
The government had on March 26, 2013 approved AirAsia's proposal to set up a new airline in the Indian civil aviation sector with partners Tata Group and 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.
In its proposal, AirAsia said it intends to hold 49 per cent stake in the JV. Tata Sons will hold a 30 per cent stake and Telestra Tradeplace 21 per cent.