Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Air India to fly west from Kolkata after 15 years

Kolkata: After a hiatus of nearly a decade and a half, national carrier Air India is set to fly west from Kolkata. From July 16, the carrier will operate a direct service to Dubai four times a week. With Emirates currently operating 11 flights a week, it will offer flyers an option of two flights to Dubai everyday, except Monday.

The last time AI had a west-bound international flight from Kolkata was in 2005 when it flew direct to London. Though the loads were good, the flight had been discontinued citing poor business class load. Though AI has four international flights from Kolkata at present, they all service destinations in south and southeast Asia. It flies daily to Dhaka, four times a week to Kathmandu and Bangkok and twice a week to Yangon in summer and three times a week in winter. In 2012, AI Express flights were introduced to Singapore and Dhaka but they were withdrawn in 2014.

“AI will operate an Airbus A320neo extended range aircraft on the sector. The seat configuration will be 12 business class and 150 economy class ” an airline official told TOI. The airline is offering a rock bottom fare of Rs 11,920 one way — nearly Rs 3,000 less than Emirates — and Rs 20,600 return fare, nearly Rs 8,000 less than Emirates.

The low fare is expected to wean away a section of flyers, budget tourists and carrier as well as labour traffic. But the airline is keen to attract business travellers to ensure it makes money on the flight as yields on economy class seats are very low. “AI continues to offer one of the best business class offerings and has high loyalty among passengers who have flown business class with the airline,” another airline official said.
26/06/19 Times of India
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