Air India Express plans to expand fleet
A senior airline official said that Air India Express is preparing a 10-year vision document as it looks at expanding its fleet and flying to more foreign destinations.
The plan is being prepared amid the government working on a road map for disinvestment in Air India, the debt-laden parent of the low-cost carrier which remains bullish on growth prospects.
While the national carrier has been in the red for long, AI Express remained in the black for the second consecutive year, posting INR 296.7 crore net profit in 2016-17.
“It is business as usual” and the the airline would keep growing, Air India Express CEO K Shyam Sundar said in response to queries on whether there are business uncertainties in the wake of Air India disinvestment decision.
Sundar said that “The airline is in the process of drawing up a long-term plan that will focus on expanding the fleet as well as the overseas footprint. The airline is also looking to consolidate the existing operations.”
Air India Express has a fleet of 23 Boeing 737-800NG aircraft, each having a seating capacity for 189 people.
The airline would also be firming up its fleet strategy based on short- and long-term priorities. It flies to 15 international destinations, including Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Bahrain, Doha, Kuwait, Muscat, Salalah, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Riyadh and Dhaka.
On domestic routes, it has flights between Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode-Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi- Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi-Kozhikode.
AI Express has 545 weekly departures and it flew 3.4 million passengers in 2016-17. Boosted by higher revenues and reduction in costs, the airline posted a net profit of INR 296.7 crore in the last financial year even though it had declined from INR 361.68 crore recorded in the 2015-16 period.
AI Express, which has been operationally profitable for the last four years, saw its revenue rise to INR 3,335 crore in 2016-17.
“Prudent commercial and management interventions including better utilization of its assets gave rise to reduction of about 5-7% in unit costs contributing to the positive financial outcome (in 2016-17),” the airline had said while announcing the results last month.
On June 28, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its in-principle approval for considering strategic disinvestment of Air India and five of its subsidiaries. Air India Express is one of the subsidiaries.
Tag Keyword: Air India Express , Foreign Destinations , Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs