AirAsia is planning to start a new joint venture carrier in India, having signed an agreement with two partners based there.
The low-cost carrier says that it has made an application to the Indian Foreign Investment Promotion board which, if approved, would see it take a 49% stake in the proposed new carrier. The remainder would be owned by industrial conglomerate Tata Sons and Telestra Tradeplace, the investment company of Arun Bhatia.
Subject to that approval, the proposed carrier would then apply for an air operator's permit through Indian aviation authorities.
The proposed airline would operate from Chennai and focus on providing connections to tier II and III cities in the country, says AirAsia.
The announcement comes only weeks after AirAsia identified India as the market with the largest potential, having discounted starting a new carrier in Southeast Asia after completing a five-year strategic review.
It also follows comments from AirAsia's group chief executive Tony Fernandes that the airline would only look to add one more joint venture to its portfolio over the next five years.
"We have carefully evaluated developments in India over the last few years and strongly believe that the current environment is perfect to introduce AirAsia's low fares which stimulate travel and grow the market," says Fernandes.
AirAsia's operations in Malaysia and Thailand already serve Chennai, Bengaluru, Trichy, Kochi and Kolkata in India.
AirAsia has not said how many aircraft the new joint venture would commence operations with, but the group has over 350 Airbus A320s on order and 118 in service across its operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan.