Air India to expand operations in summer

Even as pilots intensify strike calls over delayed salaries, cash-strapped Air India plans to expand its operations for the upcoming summer schedule (beginning April), increasing the number of flights to over 400 from 380 at present, as it looks to up revenues from profitable routes.

In addition to introducing new international flights, the airline also plans low-cost model operations on routes serviced exclusively by budget airlines, to gain a higher market share.

In April, the airline would introduce daily flights between Vizag and Dubai via Hyderabad and those between Delhi and Bahrain via Abu Dhabi.

Also, the frequency of the Delhi-Tokyo flight would be increased to five times a week from the current four and the Delhi-Dammam flight would be operational daily from twice a week at present.

Senior officials of the carrier told The Economic Times on conditions of anonymity that the new introductions and the launch of low-cost operations on some domestic routes would help the airline generate better revenues.

Meanwhile, the airline has started low-cost model operations with the removal of business class seats on the 34 Airbus aircraft in its fleet as it seeks to align itself further with the market and to enhance its revenues. The move would see Air India start flight services on routes serviced only by low-cost carriers.