Riza Roidila Mufti, Jakarta – AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes has called on the government not to overregulate the aviation industry, arguing that it could kill the business itself.
"I think the government should facilitate business, not overregulates it. Let the airlines decide what they are going to charge. If it [the airfare] is too expensive, then no one is going to fly with them if they are not safe, people are not going to fly in them," he said on Thursday.
Fernandes was asked to comment on the government's efforts to push down airfares and a subsequent agreement with low-cost carriers (LCC) to offer a 50 percent discount for domestic flights on certain days.
"You the consumer can decide what you can afford and what you can't afford," he said while speaking at the launch of his book in Jakarta.
Healthy competition means letting businesses compete using their own strategy and let the customer decide which service they want to choose, he said, adding that the aviation industry was a challenging one and therefore, airlines had to be clever in innovating to survive.
As the biggest LCC in Southeast Asia, Tony said, AirAsia would always find a way to keep its fares down and make sure they are affordable for customers while also looking for ideas to reduce costs and increase revenue.
AirAsia is currently developing new businesses in addition to airline services. Under the vision of AirAsia 3.0, the company will expand to offer hotel and accommodation bookings, financial technology and logistics.
"We are trying new ways to keep the airfare down, [...] but we have to make money from other [services]," he said. (bbn)