Air India to press all Boeing 777s into service from September

From September, Air India would have all its Boeing 777s pressed into service and flights resumed to important destinations like Hong Kong, Seoul, Frankfurt and New York to recoup lost share of the international market.

The airline boasts of 777 LR (long range) aircraft in addition to twelve 777 ER (extended range) aircraft that were grounded during the 59-day strike. The strike had crippled the carrier's outbound operations and resulted in a revenue loss of Rs620 crore.

News agency reports quoted a senior Air India official as saying that the airline was most badly hit in the East Asia sector, with Hong Kong the worst hit. The carrier had very good passenger loads and revenue coming from the sector, which mainly accounted for tourists and business travelers, he said, adding that the reactivation of the services had become a priority for the airline.

The company's 20 aircraft of 777 type would be activated on routes like Hong Kong, Seoul and Osaka in the first phase starting 21 August. This would be followed by operations to New York, Frankfurt and Paris, the official added.

Following East Asia, services to Europe would be restored, first to Frankfurt on 1 September, and then New York from 4 September. The official said, the restoration of services and low fare offer would see the bottom line of the airline improve.

The airline is offering a return fare of Rs12,000, exclusive of taxes, between New Delhi and Hong Kong, and would start return tickets to New York, Frankfurt and Paris at the minimum price of Rs30,000 per ticket.

Air India would also hike the frequency of its New Delhi-Paris and Mumbai-London flights, making them daily services. The airline is confident of maintaining the new schedule as nearly 230 pilots had joined back and efforts were on to take back the sacked 101 pilots.