Rediff.com  » Business » How Air India plans to spread its wings in both East and West

How Air India plans to spread its wings in both East and West

June 18, 2019 10:48 IST

Besides lining up Bali, Nairobi and Toronto flights, the airline is also planning flights from Mumbai to Hong Kong.
The network expansion will help the national carrier grow its market share and capitalise on the capacity vaccum created by the collapse of Jet Airways.

Air India plans to launch services from Delhi to Bali, Nairobi and Toronto in its winter schedule as it looks to consolidate its position as the largest carrier on overseas routes from India.

At present, there is no non-stop service from Delhi to both Nairobi and Bali.

However, Air Canada flies daily to Toronto.

 

New services are being proposed as Air India expects its 17 grounded planes to be back in service by October-end.

A Delhi-Toronto flight that will operate thrice weekly is to be launched on September 27, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had tweeted recently.

Launch dates for Bali and Nairobi have not been fixed yet.

The airline is also planning flights from Mumbai to Hong Kong.

The network expansion will help the national carrier grow its market share and capitalise on the capacity vaccum created by the collapse of Jet Airways.

Improved fleet utilisation, a wider network, and better yields should help the national carrier.

Air India’s chairman Ashwani Lohani is confident that it will improve performance in FY20.

“On an average, our load factor is 82-83 per cent. Connecting traffic is growing as well. Operationally, we are doing well and this would get reflected in our financial performance in FY20,” he said.

Fuel price volatility and continued closure of the Pakistan airspace are the main risks, and the carrier is losing Rs 6 crore daily as airspace closure has increased flying time of its US and Europe bound flights.

Seventeen planes - including Airbus A320, Boeing 777s and 787s - have been grounded for several months because of want of spares and engines.

Air India’s engineering department has prepared a schedule to get the planes back into operation, making network expansion possible in winter.

In FY18, Air India bagged a market share amounting to 10.4 per cent of the country’s international traffic.

Jet Airways, which shut operations in April, had a share of around 14 per cent in the same year.

Despite flight cancellations, Jet had a capacity share of over 12 per cent on all international routes from India in January and commanded over half of the seat share on the Mumbai-London and Mumbai-Kuwait routes.

In its recent report, aviation consultancy CAPA said, “Air India will continue to face strong competition on domestic routes, but now that it has emerged as the largest carrier on overseas routes - where the capacity is constrained - international operations could prove to be lucrative.”

Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Aneesh Phadnis in Mumbai
Source:
SHARE THIS STORY