Air Indian to expand fleet for budget services

3 May, 2007: State-run Air India seems to be hogging all the limelight even as the run up to the AI-Indian merger is gathering pace. AI has reportedly finalized plans to replace leased aircraft of its budget carrier AI-Express with completely owned fleet. The merger between Air India and Indian Airlines, in terms of fleet, network and staff, would take one or two years. But the legalities of merger will be through by June.

The airline plans to buy as many as four aircraft this year and provide the much needed push to its budget flight services. This will mean that AI-Express would be doubling its fleet to 25 aircraft by next year. Of the current 13 budget-carrier the airline operate, seven are on lease, a report pointed out.

Besides the purchase plan,AI-Express has also lined up new daily services connecting Thiruvananthapuram with Dubai in a matter of three months. AI-Express expects to net Rs 1000 crore revenue during the current financial ear, plying a million passengers." Last year, AI-Express had earned Rs 690 crore revenue on 7.5 lakh passengers.

The carrier has also put pilot-training high on its agenda. With the AI needing at least 1000 pilots , the recruitments are being planned through campus placement, whereby picking engineering graduates for pilot-training. The Air Indian top brass has also signed an MoU with the Indian Air Force to facilitate hiring of retired IAF pilots.




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