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BUSINESS - AVIATION - AIR INDIA EXPRESS

Now, Maharajah flies you abroad for less

Air India's budget airline Air India Express takes off on April 29, 2005

 

BY A CORRESPONDENT

March 19, 2005 : March 19, 2005: Air India Express, the low-budget airline set up by India's national carrier Air India, is ready to take wings. Air India Express takes to skies on April 29 and the first flight will be from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala to Abu Dhabi. Kerala is home to a large population of Non-resident Indians in the Gulf. The idea is to tap this route which is currently serviced by Air India and some foreign carriers. The tiny state of Kerala already has three international airports, and one more is coming up.

A Delhi-Abu Dhabi ticket on Air India Express costs Rs 6632, which is about 25 to 30% cheaper than the fares offered by conventional carriers.

Barely a week after the Air India Express announcement, Air Arabia too got into the fare war, announcing a rock-bottom Rs 2999 for its Sharjah-Mumbai flight. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILED REPORT. The Air Arabia Mumbai flights start from Saturday, March 26, 2005.

Online tickets sales for Air India Express Thiruvanathapuram-Abu Dhabi sector was launched on Friday by civil aviation secretary Ajay Prasad in New Delhi. To book online, go to www.airindiaexpress.in. Tickets can also be bought from travel agents or from Air India Express offices. Each flight will have 181 seats. Air India Express plans to add flights to Bahrain, , Doha, Kuwait, Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur from next year.

Air India Express starts off with three Boeing 737-800s, which will operate 35 flights per week. The flights will be to Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Dubai and Salalah, from Kochi, Thiruvanathapuram, Kozhikode, Mumbai and Delhi.

Air India Express becomes the first Indian low-budget airline to fly out of the country. Currently, Indian airlines which are allowed to fly abroad from India are Jet and Air Sahara, which do not fall in the no-frills airlines category.

The budget airline concept in India was kicked off by Air Deccan. The success of Air Deccan was noticed among several corporates and now, Kingfisher Airlines, Magic Air, Go Air and Royal Airways are waiting for takeoff.

BY A CORRESPONDENT

 

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