• APJ Abdul KalamReuters File
  • AirAsia slashes fares on select routes
    AirAsia India names its sixth aircraft VT-APJ in memory of APJ Abdul Kalam.Twitter/Mittu Chandilya

AirAsia India, an Indo-Malaysian low-cost carrier headquartered in Bengaluru, announced on Thursday it has named its sixth aircraft "VT-APJ" in memory of former President of India and eminent scientist APJ Abdul Kalam.

AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya made the announcement on Twitter on Thursday (15 October), which marks the 84th birth anniversary of the 11th President of India.

"Happy Birthday Anniversary to an Amazing man. Our 6th Aircraft VT- APJ "in the Honour and Memory of.....," Chandilya said in his Twitter post.

APJ, who inspired millions of people across the world, passed away in Shillong, Meghalaya, while addressing the students of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) on 27 July, 2015.

Kalam spent a major portion of his life working at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and was closely associated with India's civilian space programme and military missile development efforts.

He came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. He also played a pivotal role in India's Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974.

AirAsia is the first foreign airline to set up a subsidiary in India and is a joint venture with Air Asia Berhad holding 49% of the airline, Tata Sons holding 40.06% and Telestra Tradeplace owning the remaining 10% in the airline. The joint venture would also mark Tata's return to the aviation industry after 60 years. The airline commenced its operations on 12 June, 2014, with Bangalore as its primary hub.