KOCHI: Riding on the goodwill it generated in the recent years, the Air India Express (AIE), the low-cost arm of the Air India, is all set to expand its wings further by embarking on a major fleet and route expansion to tap the expanding travel market of the countries burgeoning middle class and working class in Asian countries.
AIE CEO K Shyamsunder told ‘Express’ the air service, which registered net profit for the first time since its inception in the financial year ended March 2015, with the induction of eight brand new aircraft B737-800 NG aircraft to be taken on lease in 2016, into its fleet, plans to offer point-to-point flights that will be reliable from Kerala and other major cities in the country.
Besides, as part of expanding its presence in all over the country, the AIE will start services from Delhi to various Asian countries.
Also, the AIE would start services from two-tier cities like Lucknow, Varanasi, Jaipur, and Madurai to various Asian countries, including Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. This would considerably increase the market share of AIE, which at present enjoys an aviation market share of 30 per cent in Kerala and 5 per cent in national level, said Shyamsunder.
The budget airline will also introduce online feedback system though which the customers can register their feedbacks on the flight service though the website of AIE.
There would be a detailed questionnaire covering all aspects of the air travel service in the website which, the CEO expects, would help the airline streamline its services more according to the requirements of the customers. The airline would also give more focus on on-time services and the company expects it can do away the practice of flight delays and cancellation almost completely with the induction of new additional flights, the airline officer said.
The frequency of its services from various cities in the country especially from Kerala would also be increased in tune with the fleet expansion, said Shyamsunder. The airline that made a modest beginning 10 years ago with a fleet of three leased aircraft that were operated between three airports in Kerala to six destinations in Gulf now connects 11 Indian tier 2 cities to 12 international destinations, in the Gulf and South East Asia. Its present fleet size comprises 17 Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft that are wholly owned by the company.