Thursday, November 15, 2018

5 more AI aircraft to increase flights in eastern India

Kolkata: National carrier Air India will add five aircraft to its fleet by next March, paving the way for introduction of more flights to the east, AI chairman and MD Pradeep Singh Kharola said on Wednesday. The planes will be taken on dry lease.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Alumnus Award Ceremony and Foundation Day Lecture at IIM Calcutta, Kharola said: “We have domestic and international plans and augmenting the fleet is key to realizing them. We will be adding five more Airbus A320 aircraft by next March. They will primarily be used in the domestic sector and eastern India figures in the plan.”

On the possibility of introducing long-haul international flights from Kolkata and possible direct connectivity with Europe, something that chief minister Mamata Banerjee had been requesting AI for sometime, the executive said it was under consideration. “Long-haul flights depend on availability of aircraft and viability of the route. We have recently started a flight to Bangkok. The flight to Europe from Kolkata is still under consideration,” he said.

AI had withdrawn the direct flight to London from Kolkata over a decade ago. Though loads were adequate, aviation industry sources said lack of business class passengers — who offer higher yields than economy-class travellers — led to the flight’s withdrawal. Lufthansa, too, withdrew its Frankfurt flight, ostensibly for the same reason.
15/11/18 Times of India