Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Air India to Expand Operations in Summer

Air India, India’s national airline, has devised plans to increase its flight network and frequency in its summer schedule. The airline, considered by many the top choice for flights to India, is hoping to earn more revenue from profitable routes.

Air India may be struggling as far as profitability is concerned but that is not stopping India’s flag carrier to spread its wings wide!

If reports doing the rounds in Indian media are to be believed, then Air India is all set to expand its summer schedule considerably to earn more revenues from profitable routes. Cash-strapped Air India is planning to increase the number flights to over 400 from the current 380 in its summer schedule (beginning April), according to a report published in a financial daily of the country.

Air India has plans to initiate daily flights between Vizag and Dubai via Hyderabad. The airline also hopes to kick start flights to India’s capital city, Delhi from Bahrain via Abu Dhabi.

Moreover, the Indian carrier is going to elevate its services between Delhi and Tokyo. Currently, Air India offers four weekly services between the two destinations which the airline is hoping to bring up to five weekly. The airline will also be making Delhi-Dammam twice a week service to a daily operation in its summer schedule.

Besides initiating a slew of international flights, Air India has its eye firmly set on the low-cost business model. The airline is going all guns blazing to ensure that it becomes a name to reckon with when people think of booking cheap flights to India. The carrier seeks to invade low-budget travel market and by the looks of it the airline has already set the ball rolling. Recently, Air India trimmed down business class seats from some of its fleet aircraft in an endeavour to become more of an airline that runs on a low-cost business model. While this move primarily catered to domestic travellers, in future even international travellers looking for cheap flights to India might be benefited from such measures taken by the airline.

The report published in the Indian newspaper also quoted a senior AI official. He offered the rationale behind the decision to cut down business class seats by emphasising that low-cost market has been growing while business class travel is on the decline. However, the airline official clarified that Air India is not exiting the business class segment and will continue to offer business seats in domestic network as well as on international flights to India.

Air India was also hoping to commence more routes in Europe, the US and Australia but the delay in getting the delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner acted as an impediment. There have been reports that the airline may begin these routes in the winter schedule.

While on the topic of 787 Dreamliner, it should be mentioned that the Dreamliner landed at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Monday after making a 14-hour non-stop flight from Seattle, USA.

787 Dreamliner, considered world’s most fuel efficient aircraft, is expected to be delivered to Air India by May this year.


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