AirAsia that sells 80% of its tickets online in its home country Malaysia, is adopting different model in India. It has started reaching out to travel agents to sell tickets as it gets closer to launch, a costly option its parent airline uses sparingly elsewhere.
Airlines in India still depend on agents for 80% of their sales. Analysts say the airline can’t diverge much from Indian market realities to be able to survive.
Track India, an associate company of AirAsia India, sent mailers to travel agents last week inviting them to register with the airline. “It is pleasure to announce that we are offering you an Air Asia login ID for issuing AirAsia tickets with more freedom!!! The first step to a mutually beneficial relationship is to become a registered agent with us,” one such email read.
Mittu Chandilya, chief executive officer of AirAsia India, had said the airline was open to all distribution channels. “We do have an online selling plan. But we cannot ignore travel agents, too. Therefore, we will have a mix of different strategies at this point of time,” Chandilya had said in an interview on 1 July.
AirAsia India is awaiting final approvals from the civil aviation regulator and is likely to get its flying licence by the end of April. The airline is a joint venture between Malaysia’s AirAsia, Tata Sons and Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace. An AirAsia India executive, requesting anonymity, said the airline faces only two minor hurdles in getting the final approval. AirAsia India is awaiting air operating permit (AOP) from the regulator.
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