An AirAsia executive in India confirmed on Tuesday that the airline had announced withdrawal of its flights between New Delhi and Bangkok, owing to high operating costs that include high airport and fuel charges. Thai AirAsia operates a daily flight between the Indian and Thai capitals, besides a weekly flight between Kolkata and Bangkok. The Kolkata flight will continue to operate, the executive added.
Withdrawal of the service between Delhi and Bangkok will begin with a cutback to four flights a week on February 14, from what is seven now. On March 24, it would come to a complete suspension.
Recently, Air AsiaX, a long-haul subsidiary of AirAsia that operated flights from Delhi and Mumbai, also announced cancellation of flights from India, also owing to high operating costs. Air Asia, too, had announced it was pulling out flights from Hyderabad, owing to high user development fee at the Hyderabad airport.
High sales tax on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) and high airport charges, which are proposed to be increased further, make India a high-cost market for airlines. The sales tax on ATF in the country is one of the world’s highest at 24 per cent. Fuel is almost half the total cost of domestic airlines.
Airport charges are also set to increase. The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority has proposed an increase of 280 per cent in landing and parking charges at Delhi airport. The airport operator had asked for 774 per cent increase in the charges.
In a consultation meeting that AERA held last week with all the airlines on the proposed hike in airport charges at the Delhi airport, three leading international carriers -- British Airways, Air France-KLM and Lufthansa -- said they would reconsider their expansion plans for India, saying the proposed increase was high.