AirAsia set to take off, gets A-320

AirAsia set to take off, gets A-320

As it awaits the final nod to start operations, low-cost carrier AirAsia India on Saturday took delivery of its first Airbus A-320. The leadership team of the new entrant in the Indian aviation sector cheered the landing of the flight from the Toulouse, US, headquarters of Airbus.

AirAsia India is a joint venture of Malaysian operator Air Asia, Tata and Telestra. The joint venture, which has cleared all but one hurdle, is still awaiting a flying licence from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

As the 180-seater A-320, bearing call-sign VT-ATF, landed at around 9:30 am with a customary water-cannon salute in Chennai airport, AirAsia's group CEO Tony Fernandes tweeted, “AirAsia India first aircraft arrives in India. In Chennai. Wow. Still a bit to do bit on the final straight.”

“Great news! India's latest airline, AirAsia India, has taken delivery of its first A-320 equipped with Sharklets,” tweeted Airbus. It also posted a picture of the plane painted red, with the name of the airline written in white.

Sharklets are the folded wing tips that helps aircraft glide smoothly, thereby reducing fuel consumption and carbon emission.

AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya said the arrival of the  first plane signifies that they are a step closer to their dream to create a new benchmark in the low-cost air travel category.

Though it was yet to get the final nod to start operations, AirAsia India was granted in-principle approval for the import of 10 aircraft, all A320-200s, in December last year. It plans to operate a fleet of 4-5 aircraft initially, expanding it to 10 within a year.

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