Air India upgrades Gulf routes

18 Jun 2010

Air India and its low-cost sister airline Air India Express will increase capacity by up to 15 percent between India and the Gulf countries and introduce newer aircraft, airline officials have said.

The airline currently has 317 flights to the Gulf from India, having cut several services as a result of both the financial crisis and the airline’s own economic woes.

Air India will also phase out about 20 ageing Airbus 320s and will operate new leased aircraft on the Gulf routes.

"We will be leasing new aircraft. The proposal is for five," said Arvind Jhadav, chairman and managing director of National Aviation Company of India, Air India's parent company.

Speaking to regional media he said: “We're doing a re-rationalising, seeing how the markets are and will increase the frequency accordingly.”

Air India will also set up cabin-crew bases so it can operate a much larger number of flights out of India into the Gulf.
"We could be in a position to add another 200-250 flights. Whether it should be a low-cost carrier or full-service carrier… these internal discussions will happen,” Jhadav said.

Kenny Coyle

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