AI Express aims 40 pc increase in flights; plans services to Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka

Air India Express to Expand: 40% More Flights, New Routes
Air India Express
Air India Express

Mumbai | Low cost carrier Air India Express plans to operate 40 per cent more flights in the next financial year as well as start services to Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, sources said on Wednesday.

The Tata Group-owned airline -- which is in the process of merging AirAsia India, now rebranded AIX Connect -- is expanding its fleet and expects to complete the acquisition of 50 white tail Boeing 737 Max aircraft by December this year, the sources close to the development said.

At least 13 of these 50 planes have already been inducted into its fleet.

Currently, it operates 350 flights daily and has a fleet of 69 planes.

Generally, a white tail aircraft means that it was actually meant to be delivered to another carrier by the manufacturer. In this case, another source in the know said the planes that are being taken by Air India Express were originally for a foreign carrier, which decided not to go ahead with the order amid pandemic woes.

Going forward, the sources said the airline will focus more on consolidating its operations on the domestic routes and will not be adding many destinations locally. Services will be introduced in few international routes, including Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

In the next fiscal, the carrier plans to operate 40 per cent more flights as the fleet will also be expanded, the sources said. More number of flights and services to new destinations will be introduced during the upcoming summer and winter schedules.

Summer schedule starts from late March to late October and winter schedule commences from late October to late March.

At present, the airline has around 1,300 pilots, including 400 from AirAsia India. About 400 pilots are under training, they added.

Regarding the progress on merging AIX Connect with Air India Express, the sources said the merger is expected to be completed by the second quarter of the next financial year.

Once the merger is fully complete then all the planes of AIX Connect will be under the air operator permit of Air India Express.

Currently, three A320neo planes of AIX Connect are under Air India Express' air operator permit.

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