Air India adds seven additional flights to West Asian sectors

Mumbai: Air India chairman and managing director, V Thulasidas has announced a bonanza package of 2,000 additional seats comprising seven additional flights from Kerala to destinations in the Gulf and Middle East.

Speaking in Kochi at a press conference at the conference of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Thulasidas announced AI's decision to operate seven additional flights (both Air India and Air India Express {AIE}) on the Kerala Gulf sector to clear the peak season rush during August - September.

Of the seven flights, four flights (Boeing 737 - 800's) will be operated on August 29, September 1, September 3 and September 5, on the Calicut-Trivandrum-Dubai sector. The other three flights (Boeing 747 - 400's) will operate on the Trivandrum-Dubai sector on August 31; Calicut-Dubai on September 1, and Trivandrum-Calicut-Riyadh also on September 1.

Thulasidas also said that there has been a great demand for AIE flights. The capacity utilisation of AIE in the Trivandrum-Dubai, Trivandrum-Abu Dhabi and Trivandrum-Muscat sectors during the May 10 to August 25 2005 was 100 per cent. It was 99 per cent in the Koz-Dubai and Koz-Abu Dhabi sectors. In the the Cochin-Dubai and Cochin-Abu Dhabi sectors, capacity utilisation stood at 100 per cent and 99 per cent respectively. AIE flights to Muscat from Cochin and Kozhikode had a capacity utilisation of 94 per cent and 95 per cent, respectively. Air India Express had kept its promise of offering tickets at 20 to 25 per cent less than the market rates. He added that the minimum peak season rates of the airline was 53 per cent less than that of other players.