Aviation

Air Asia keen on getting into insurance sector

HYDERABAD

Air Asia Bhd, the Malaysia-based conglomerate with interests in aviation, financial services and hospitality is actively considering its foray into the Indian insurance sector.

“We are talking to key players in the market and our plans are very much on”, said Tony Fernandes, one of the founders of the conglomerate, reports Business Line.

The recent passing of the contentious insurance bill in the Rajya Sabha with higher Foreign Direct Investment cap is welcome and augurs well for our plans, he told newspersons here.

In Hyderabad, to unveil the livery of its fourth aircraft to commemorate the visionary JRD Tata, the Chief Executive Officer of Air Asia Group said the Indian Government’s moves in insurance looks more positive than the recent changes in the aviation sector, especially the 5/20 regulations.

The conglomerate’s insurance arm called Tune Insurance specialises in providing travel, personal accident and health insurance. It goes into markets that are under served. My boys are working on it. I know India is one of there plans. But it is separate from the airline venture and is separately capitalised,” Tony had told Business Line in an earlier interview.

Aviation disappointing: While Air Asia is super excited to get its operations up and quickly expanded with big investments in India, the recent policy moves with reference to the 5/20 rules are highly disappointing. Air Asia, Vistara and several other players see India as big time opportunity and long term investments, but the rules are not in their interests, he added.

For the continent size-India, with huge tourism potential the country needs 1,000 planes, many destinations, low cost travel and infrastructure. A more level-playing ground and fair competition will do wonders. It will lead to huge job generation. The proposed changes that restrict new airlines from flying to international destinations within six hours on grounds of five years of operation and 20 aircraft etc is clearly in favour of the incumbents, he pointed out.

There is no point in blocking new investments and airlines just because some airlines are inefficient, not making money. Similarly, safety is sacrosanct whether short haul or long haul. “Our investments will depend on clarity on the policy. We are willing to put international flights to Hyderabad, Kochi etc as well as connect many Indian smaller cities”, he asserted.

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