Monday, October 22, 2018

Despite hitting air-pockets, Air India Express spreads its wings

Thiruvananthapuram: Despite three aircraft mishaps in around one year which normally create network disturbance, the Air India Express, the services of which were severely affected during the August flood as it is the largest operator from the state, posted a record on-time performance in the post-flood and expanded its fleet size from 23 to 25. As per the OAG, an air travel intelligence company based in the United Kingdom, Air India Express (AIE) ranked first in the country and 14th in Asia Pacific for its on-time performance. 
Further, the AIE is set to become the first Indian carrier to start daily flights to Singapore from Kochi from October 29. According to AIE sources, the AIE has been holding Singapore services from Kochi thrice in a week via Madurai. Now, the company has decided to add four more Singapore services via Bengaluru to the existing three services via Madurai. With this, Kochi-Singapore becomes a daily service. This service will exclusively be for Singapore pax and no domestic leg of journey between Kochi-Madurai and Kochi-Bengaluru will be entertained.
The AIE had faced network disturbances during the time of aircraft mishaps. When the Cochin International airport was closed down after it was submerged in flood water, the airline company had to halt its Kochi-Singapore service via Madurai for about two weeks after the aircraft that was pressed into the service in this route, got marooned in flood-hit CIAL.
Similarly, last year, an aircraft sustained damages after its wheels got stuck in the storm water drain on the side of the taxiway opposite the international terminal while entering the bay from the taxiway at the Cochin airport. The airline company had to deroster its pilots following an investigation. In another mishap, an AIE plane suffered a tear in its belly after hitting a boundary wall at Tiruchi airport. This time, the airline company could send a relief aircraft to avoid network disturbance.
“We will be the first airline company which starts international services to Middle East destinations from Kannur and we will announce our schedules and destinations once the airport formally announces its opening date,” said AIE sources.
22/10/18 Dhinesh Kallungal/New Indian Express