For the national carrier Air India, the forthcoming summer season would be the period to expand its wings both domestically as well as on international routes. With the cushion of a significant dip in the oil prices (which is believed to have brought down its operational losses considerably) and a significant projected capacity enhancement with the addition of 30 aircrafts over the next 13 months (refer to our story published in January edition: National carrier to embark on a major capacity addition; eyeing for more non-stop international options), the airline like its other private counterparts in the fray seems to be all set to scale up its operations in the coming months. Some of the initiatives planned in the near-run clearly reflects this expansionary mood.
In terms of scaling up its operations within the country, the airline has planned to open three new routes which will be served by its regional subsidiary Alliance Air. “As per our summer schedule plan, we will be opening new sectors between Bangalore-Vijayawada, Kolkata-Agartala and Delhi-Kullu. This initiative is part of our efforts to fan out robustly in the regional space,” a senior official of Air India recently told TourismFirst. While Bangalore- Vijayawada and Kolkata- Agartala operations will have a weekly frequency of five flights each, the service between Delhi and Kullu will be operated six times weekly.
Alongwith opening new routes in the domestic sector, Air India’s comprehensive plan for the summer schedule also includes enhancing frequency on some of the major domestic as well as international routes. “Frequency upgradation is another critical element of our summer schedule plans. On the international side, our Delhi-Milan operations will go up from three to four flights per week, the flight on Delhi-Moscow route will become thrice weekly as against current two, and as you know we are starting a non-stop flight between Delhi-Vienna from April 6th which will be served by a Dreamliner. We are starting with three services every week on this route,” the official explained. On the domestic side, Air India has planned to increase the frequency between Delhi-Amritsar (from three to four), Bangalore- Trivandrum (from four to daily) and Delhi-Pune (three flights daily
Meanwhile, much of the buzz around Air India in recent weeks has been on its new non-stop service between Delhi and Vienna. This follows the a similar service which Air India had launched between Delhi-San Francisco late last year. According to Air India official, the booking trends of the new service is very positive. “The response from the market is encouraging. We believe this sector would be particularly liked by the India outbound segment going out for leisure,” the official underlined. In the near run, Air India’s pursuit of introducing defining non-stop international service using its Dreamliner aircrafts is also likely to result in the addition of Washington on its route map in the next few months. “We are committed to provide more non-stop connectivity to the leading global destinations and here Washington is on the top of the list after the introduction of this service to San Francisco and to Vienna next month. The service between Delhi-Washington is likely to be introduced before the end of the summer season,” the official said.