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AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes appoints India-born Mittu Chandilya as CEO

Mittu is coming home to change Indian travel and make it affordable for all to fly: AirAsia chief

Written by PTI | Mumbai/ New Delhi | Published: May 15, 2013 3:06:43 pm

AirAsia picks Mittu Chandilya as CEO for India ops

Mumbai,May 15 (PTI) AirAsia India today took another step to launch its much-talked about operations with the appointment of Mittu Chandilya as the chief executive officer,a decision which will now allow the company to seek an air operator’s permit.

The 33-year-old Chennai-born,Singapore-based Chandilya,who is a management consultant,will assume office on June 1,AirAsia India said in a statement issued from Chennai.

Chandilya’s last appointment was as the head of the Asia-Pacific division of global search firm Egon Zehnder International,which is focused on advisory leadership in

aviation,travel and hospitality,among others.

Commenting on the appointment,Tata Group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata,”I am extremely pleased that the board of AirAsia India has appointed Chandilya as the CEO. I am confident that he will provide the leadership and bring to bear his entrepreneurial skills in successfully growing this new airline in the Indian aviation space.”

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Air Asia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes,who broke the news in a Tweet earlier in the day,said,”Chandilya is an outstanding young man with great entrepreneurial skills. He is very passionate about the LCC business and possesses thecrucial understanding on how our business model works.”

“India is an important market for us,and a CEO of Mittu’s stature and business acumen would definitely help us to attain significant market share and achieve rapid growth in this market,” Fernandes said in a statement.

It can be noted that the aviation ministry has for the past few weeks been seeking names of AirAsia India’s top officials,including CEO and other directors,for mandatory security clearances before it approves the proposal to launch flight operations.

Post-approval,the airline has to move aviation regulator DGCA to get its flying permit or the scheduled operator permit. Total Words: : 261

Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had recently said the airline was yet to submit names of its directors and CEO. “I don’t expect any problems. We have already sought the

information,” he had said yesterday.

On his appointment,Chandilya said,”I am a native of Chennai,and I am excited about returning to India to revolutionise the air travel industry here. I am looking

forward to being part of the dynamic AirAsia family,and most importantly,to bring a whole new meaning to the word ‘flying’ to consumers in India.”

“I am pleased to announce that the board of AirAsia India has appointed Mittu Chandilya as CEO AirAsia India,” Fernandes tweeted in the morning.

Chandilya,who grew up in India,Africa and the US,has a Bachelor’s in business and economics with a triple major from the Lehigh University,Pennsylvania,US,apart from MBAs from Insead,France/Singapore and from Tsinghua University,Beijing.

Fernandes along with Tata Sons and Arun Bhatia of Telestra Tradeplace had late February announced a 49:30:21 joint venture to launch the airline in the country,which will be headquartered in Chennai.

The government had in early April cleared AirAsia’s proposal to invest Rs 80.98 crore in Air Asia India,marking the clearance of the project’s first step before seeking a licence to fly.

Chandilya’s appointment was made last month itself when Fernandes in an earlier tweet had said: “Selected the CEO for AirAsia India. A very smart boy from the South,Madras. An amazing CV…will impress all.”

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