What could be AirAsia India's International Strategy?

Air Asia India has completed 5 years of operations and 20 aircrafts fleet. They are now eligible to fly international and reportedly looking to do so soon. In this post, I am taking liberty to express my thoughts on what could be Air Asia India's international strategy. Of couse Air Asia group has its own set of experts and advisors- they don't need me to guide them. But as a flyer, as an airline blogger and industry observer, enthusiast, I am just sharing my thoughts on what might work very well for them.
Points to consider:
1. I am assuming AirAsia India will stick with short haul fleet of A320 (not more than 6 to 7 hours flying) and very unlikely to buy an A330 or A321 XLR kind of medium to long haul range aircrafts
2. Air Asia Malaysia and Air Asia Thailand already have strong coverage in South East Asia. Assuming Air Asia India doesn't intend to compete directly with them- rather aim to grow overall as a group.

So where could Air Asia India fly internationally?
Below is what I am thinking
Potential destination
Kathmandu, Nepal
Parent AirAsia group has stopped flying to KTM from KUL
Good passenger traffic between India and Nepal

Middle East
(Doha, Sharjah, Bahrain, DXB/DWC)
Capacity crunch after Jet collapse
Good passenger traffic

No direct flights between these India and Cambodia/Vietnam
Chiang Mai, Phuket,
Penang/Kota Kinabalu
Avoids competing with AirAsia MY and TH- good potential for direct flights
Mauritius /Seychelles
Popular tourist destinations not flown to by other budget airlines
Can feed from AirAsia Malaysia

Why Nepal?
Nepal gets most of its tourists from India. Today most of the flights to Nepal are from Delhi, very few from Kolkata and just one from BLR and few other cities. Offering direct flight to Nepal's Kathmandu or Pokhara from AirAsia's hub cities like BLR or Delhi or even Kolkata will ensure good traffic- even AirAsia Malaysia or Thai AirAsia can feed passengers to these destinations from various cities in Asia (that could be a 2 stop flight- say from Manila to Kathmandu via KUL and BLR) but if pricing is right, there will be some takers.

Middle East:
Middle East is ever popular destination for Indian carriers, because of large population of Indians living there and their attraction as tourist destination. Doha is currently facing a capacity crunch. Dubai and other destinations are under served too. Couple of flights to this region will give the airline a foothold into Middle East market and they can expand later if all goes well. Even parent group can feed in to these flights as they don't fly directly

No airlines fly direct between India and Vietnam/Cambodia. Thousands of passengers take one stop flight via Malaysia, Thailand or Singapore. A direct flight will definitely get a plane full of passengers each day and will be good for both countries.

Secondary destinations in Thailand and Malaysia
Chiang Mai, Phuket, Penang, Kota Kinabalu etc can be served directly instead of forcing tourists to take one stop flight.

Mauritius/Seychelles - two popular island countries- only Air Mauritius flies direct while for Mahe it is always one stop flight. No low cost airlines fly here- Air Asia was serving MRU with A330 but they stopped after sometime. Might be good idea to extend into African shores.

Of course Air Asia India may also chose to play it safe by flying first to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok DMK, strengthening Airlines dominance on these routes. (Thai AirAsia and Air Asia Malaysia operate out of these destinations to all over South East Asia and beyond)- By flying more to DMK and KUL Air Asia India could initially simply feed into the parent group's international network. But from a passenger's point of view, Air Asia is already serving these destinations, so they won't feel anything new about Air Asia India's international flights.

What do you think? Which destinations AirAsia India should fly to once they get clearance for international flights?

Vistara is also looking to begin International operations soon. My guess is Vistara will focus more on destinations that can help optimize revenue along with their partner airlines- like SQ etc


  1. Europe.. I dont know if they have the flight to go for 11 hours (like Etihad or Emirates) . If not they have to restrict themselves to a 7 hour destination which is the max capacity of their fleet for now

    1. For Europe A320 is not good enough. They will have to buy a widebody aircraft- not sure if they are keen to do so right away...


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