Govt promises better air travel experience for NRIs

Air India Express will increase flights to the Gulf countries and improve its performance to ensure customer satisfaction, minister of state for civil aviation K C Venugopal said, adding that the government is in the process of empowering Air India Express as an independent business entity.

He said the government has rolled out many initiatives to make Air India Express, which is specially designed for Gulf sector services, complaint free.

The minister said the improved performance of Air India Express has already been reflected in increased bookings from the Gulf.

Addressing a session on 'Young Achievers' at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the minister said, ''Air India had a bad time combating with debts. Now we are regaining the ground. We are happy that the improved customer confidence is being reflected in the bookings as well.''

There were certain issues and concerns about the performance of Air India Express, the low cost carrier from Air India Group, especially by Gulf-based NRIs.

''The second generation NRIs are the ambassadors of a resurgent India, which has opened its doors for the world. Ambition, innovation and management expertise in international trade are the trademarks of a successful Young Indian. They have enhanced footsteps of Indian business across the world. Even in Kerala, we have many such young investors who ventured to go out from their middle class houses in small towns to international business hotspots. However, the expectation levels and competencies of new generation NRIs are manifold compared to their predecessors. They deserve more handholding and enabling policies by the Indian government,'' he said.

''As a country and a responsible government we are committed to provide young Indians similar opportunities elsewhere, so that they can confidently invest in India. It is high time that we need to develop our own engineering research and reduce dependence on the borrowed technologies. In this liberalized economy now we can afford to integrate R&D into the prime business of Indian companies. The companies also need to promote the synergy between industries and education,'' he said.