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Tony Fernandes slams flying restrictions

MUMBAI

AirAsia Bhd chief executive Tony Fernandes reiterated his criticism of India’s restrictions on newly established carriers flying overseas, blaming “vested interests” for keeping them in place, while declaring that his local unit would turn a profit by year end.

“We’ll be profitable in December,” Fernandes told ET in a phone interview. “There is only one profit in my mind and that is net profit,” he clarified, when asked to be specific. This runs contrary to the view of analysts that AirAsia India will make losses for a while, not unusual for a new carrier.

As for further investments, Fernandes indicated that he would be wary of making any without clarity on India’s draft aviation policy, which was unveiled last week.

Budget carrier AirAsia India has been “very successful” in bringing down costs, almost to the level prevailing at the Malaysian parent. “We are putting in our sixth plane,” he said. “We will have eight planes in 2016.”

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