THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The impending merger of Air India Express and AirAsia is poised to significantly enhance the prospects of Thiruvananthapuram Airport. This transformation is expected to materialise through the maiden flight of the amalgamated entity, which is likely to debut on the Thiruvananthapuram-Bengaluru route.
Credible insider sources indicate that service initiation in this sector is projected within a span of three months. Aviation experts foresee the potential for a reduction in airfares within this sector, as the merged entity is anticipated to pose robust competition to its peers. Furthermore, this development is poised to break the existing monopoly held by IndiGo Airlines over the same route originating from Thiruvananthapuram.
An official from Air India Express disclosed that Thiruvananthapuram Airport was strategically chosen due to its status as a significant hub for the airline, thanks to its comprehensive MRO facilities (maintenance, repair, and overhaul). The Thiruvananthapuram-Bengaluru route is marked by robust demand, given the allure of a shorter travel duration to Bengaluru by air. “Air India Express plans to inaugurate its service within the next three months. Given its budget airline status, a tangible impact on airfares is expected,” the official said.
In August of this year, the Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) presented a report to the Air India Express management, highlighting the airport’s potential as a business hub. The report particularly emphasised the transformative potential of passenger flights between Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru.
“The impending launch of the low-cost domestic service post the Air India-Air Asia merger holds strategic significance. It’s poised to escalate the flight count here, ushering in competitive pricing as more flights join the fray. This is a pivotal juncture, as we’re gearing up for more airlines and flights during the upcoming winter schedule. Presently, the airport hosts 85 daily flights, catering to 12,083 passengers daily. Our target for next year is to surpass 100 daily flights,” said S N Reghuchandran Nair, President of TCCI and Chairman of the Airport Users’ Consultative Committee.
In addition to Air India Express, other airlines like Akasa and Vistara are also set to commence services on the Thiruvananthapuram- Bengaluru route during the winter schedule. Vistara aims to expand its offerings to the Thiruvananthapuram-Bengaluru corridor.
Akasa recently incorporated Thiruvananthapuram Airport (TRV) into its flight reservation system for regular operations. Setting itself apart from conventional airlines, Akasa boasts a versatile pricing system that permits travellers to journey across the country, even on modest budgets.
Thiruvananthapuram Airport’s weekly flight frequency currently stands at 131 for domestic flights and 120 for international ones. The connectivity encompasses 12 international destinations and 10 domestic ones. An increase of 120% in international flights and 110% in domestic flights on a weekly average has been observed. The count of domestic passengers traversing Thiruvananthapuram Airport has also doubled within the last year.