AirAsia To Start Hiring Cabin Crew For India Venture
AirAsia will soon start hiring cabin crew for its Indian venture, the chief executive of the Malaysian budget carrier said Monday. The hiring will mark the start of the carrier’s strategy to operate local flights in India later this year. It will also be a huge employment boost to trained crew in India, especially from grounded Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. (532747.BY). “We are hiring soon…India here we come,” CEO Tony Fernandes tweeted.
India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board on March 6 approved a plan of AirAsia to start a new airline in the country in a joint venture with Tata Sons Ltd. and another local company. The three partners will have to seek approvals from the civil aviation ministry and other authorities in India to start flying. Under the plan, AirAsia, Southeast Asia’s largest carrier by fleet size, is to own a 49% stake in the joint venture. Tata Sons–which controls India’s diversified Tata Group–would hold a 30% stake and privately held Telestra Tradeplace Pvt. Ltd. the remaining 21%.
AirAsia has proposed to use its own brand name for the new airline and plans to name the joint venture AirAsia (India) Pvt. Ltd., a senior government official said in late February. AirAsia (India) plans to operate from Chennai and proposes to link smaller cities to the southern metropolis. Hiring by most airlines in India have come to a near halt while salaries have remained almost stagnant as carriers have been hit by high operational expenses.
Kingfisher Airlines–controlled by liquor and beer mogul Vijay Mallya–has been the worst hit. The airline, grounded since Oct. 1 because of a cash crunch, had also lost its flying license after it failed to produce an operational plan to the government. Mr. Mallya said last week that it is seeking government permission to resume flying. Mr. Fernandes said in February that the new airline is likely to start flying by the end of this year and that it will initially use three or four Airbus A320 jets.
He had tweeted earlier in March that the company has selected a chief executive for the Indian operations. The airline will conduct interviews for senior pilots in Mumbai later in the week, people familiar with the situation said earlier this week. Monday, Aziz Laikar, a spokesman for AirAsia, said the airline is in the “midst of finalizing the plan” for the hiring of pilots and other employees. He said the details would be revealed as soon as the hiring plan is decided upon.