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Air India starts Delhi-Dhaka-Calcutta-London flights

State-run carrier Air India’ s Delhi-Dhaka-Calcutta-London flight started operations today on a Boeing 777-200 aircraft.



19 June, 2005: Linking of Dhaka is considered to be of strategic interest to Air India, apart from tapping the ever-increasing traffic between the two countries. At present the service will be a weekly one, but Union Minister of State for External Affairs, E Ahamed, who flagged off the flight, made the Centre’s intentions clear about making it a daily affair at the function held at Indira Gandhi International airport, New Delhi, to mark the commencement of the flight.

Air India had recently launched a Delhi-Frankfurt-Los Angeles and Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham-Toronto flight recently, as part of its steps to increase long-distance flights.

The country is witnessing an aviation boom, with nine airliners slugging it out to grab their share of the booming market. Analysts have predicted a 20% growth per year in aviation sector for the country, but Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel wants the air traffic to grow at a rate of 25% in the next five years.

State-run carriers Air India and Indian Airlines have sought the government’s sanction to buy 68 and 43 aircraft respectively, as part of its ambitious expansion programmes in international routes. Low cost private airlines have been busy eating into India’s low-end segment, mainly wooing the rail passengers with dirt-cheap rates. Air Deccan, Kingfisher and Spicejet have all started operations while MagicAir, Go Airlines and IndiGo are soon set to hit the skies.

IndiGo, the budget airline which is yet to hit the skies, recently stunned aviation analysts by placing an order with Airbus for 100 A320 jets, in a deal estimated to be around $ 6 billion. Flamboyant liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher airline also placed orders for 15 aircraft from Airbus, a deal estimated by analysts to be in region of $ 3 billion..
India’s largest private airliner Jet Airways was the first to announce aircraft acquisition deals in the Paris Air show when it announced it had placed orders for 10 Airbus A 320s
for $1.5 billion and 20 Boeing aircraft worth $2.8 billion.

Indian airliners have placed orders for around 250 aircraft, which amounts to more than 
40 per cent of the total orders of aircraft makers Boeing and Airbus.

Air India plans to come out with an Initial Public Offering by the end of this year to fund its ambitious fleet expansion programme. Kingfisher is also mulling an IPO, although dates have not been specified.

Jet Airways had come out with a hugely successful IPO at the start of this year.



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