Staff Correspondent

Air India Express scheduled to operate three days a week

‘Passenger traffic from West Asia may go up’

Air India handled 75,987 passengers in 2007-08

MANGALORE: Air India Express, the low cost carrier of Air India, will introduce a flight service between Kozhikode and Kuwait via Mangalore before July-end this year.

Chellam Prasad, Mangalore Station Manager, Air India, told The Hindu that this flight would operate three days a week. There had been a demand for such a flight service from the non-resident Indians in West Asia, she added.

Timings

She said that the flight would depart from Mangalore in the evening and arrive here from Kuwait in the morning. The exact timings of arrival and departure were yet to be announced. The flight operations between Mangalore and Kuwait would be via Abudhabi or Muscat, she said.

Since there was no aircraft base station at Mangalore, the flight would depart from Kozhikode. “This is like other flights of Air India Express which operate between Kozhikode and some of the destinations in West Asia,” she said.

Ms. Prasad said that the Air India Express operated 21 flights a week between Mangalore and different destinations in West Asia. The destinations are: Dubai, Abudhabi, Muscat, Bahrain and Doha. “With introduction of a new flight service to Kuwait, the passenger traffic between Mangalore and West Asia is expected to increase,” she added.

She said that the airlines began flight service between Mangalore and West Asia, particularly to Dubai, on October 3, 2006. Other services were introduced subsequently. The airlines handled 16,746 passengers from Mangalore to West Asia in 2006-07 and 75,987 passengers in 2007-08.

Celebrations

In a press release, Ms. Prasad said that the Air India Express (AIE) celebrated its third anniversary of introducing first flight in Mangalore on Monday. The AIE, a wholly owned subsidiary of NACIL, was set up under Air India Charters Ltd. The inaugural flight flew on April 29, 2005 from Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to Abu Dhabi, she said.

Commencing its operations with three leased aircraft, the Air India Express fleet now boasts of 18 state-of-the-art Boeing 737-800 aircraft, considered to be among the most technologically advanced single-aisle jet aircraft. By the end of 2009, it will have 25 aircraft in its fleet, of which seven would be on lease and 18 owned.

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