Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Air India cruises on expansion mode

Air India, which is on a route network expansion mode, hopes to boost profit “significantly” this year after making a dramatic turnaround from losses in 2016. The airline, which for the first time in nearly a decade, reported an operating profit of Rs1.05 billion in 2015-16 fiscal, has been taking various steps such as rationalisation of certain loss-making routes, closure of overseas offline offices at certain locations, phasing out of old fleet and consequential reduction in maintenance costs to sustain profitability. The main factors that helped to turn around the airline were increased operational efficiency and reduced oil prices.

Plans for 2017-2018
Air India has a fleet of nearly 140 planes, and is expanding its domestic network to cater to the fast growing demand by adding new aircraft to its fleet and adding new International routes in 2017. Air India, which currently has 23 Dreamliners and 15 Boeing 777 in its fleet will be adding four B787 Draemliners by end of 2017 and 3 B777 – 300ERs in its fleet by mid of 2018. For domestic deployment, we have placed an order for 29 Airbus 320 aircraft on lease. The on-going expansion plan will see Air India adding more international destinations and increase frequencies on domestic routes like Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Leh.
Following the commencement of direct non-stop flights to San Francisco, Madrid, Vienna and Ahemdabad-Newark via London, Air India plans to start direct flight operations on Delhi-Washington-Delhi route in July 2017. This flight will be the fifth direct connection with the US and will be operated by Boeing 777 aircraft.

Air India also plans to start services to Tel Aviv in May 2017. In order to establish connectivity with the Scandinavian countries Air India will commence a direct non-stop flight to Scandinavia in Aug/Sep 2017. This flight service will offer convenient onward connections to Scandinavia and other countries in the Nordic region.Currently, Air India’s regional arm, Alliance Air has eight ATRs in its fleet and 70 pilots who fly these small planes for short haul operations. We are in the process of recruiting at least 200 more pilots for ATR operations. We will be adding 20 more ATR planes by this year end. We are also planning to set up a simulator unit in the national capital by this year- end for training pilots for the ATR aircraft – largely meant to be deployed for short haul operations.
26/04/17 Anju Anna Alex/Voyager's World

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