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AI Express to start more international flights

Buoyed by its success since starting operations two year ago, the national carrier's low-cost arm Air-India Express plans to add more international destinations after the Haj rush is over this month-end.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2008 12:48 IST

Buoyed by its success since starting operations two year ago, the national carrier's low-cost arm Air-India Express plans to add more international destinations after the Haj rush is over this month-end.

AI Express, which started its operations only to West Asia, now operates from 13 cities in India to 12 foreign locations in the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. It has flights from all the major cities in India to Gulf and now wants to connect to Johar Bahru in Malaysia, Male in Maldives, Phuket in Thailand and Colombo in Sri Lanka.

"We are waiting for the Haj rush to be over by January- end. We will add more destinations like Chennai-Johar Bahru where a lot of ethnic population lives and Mumbai-Kochi-Male," Air India Chairman V Thulasidas told PTI.

The low-cost airline, whose average fares are 70 per cent of the economy class fare of Air India, added several overseas destinations in 2006, including Doha, Bahrain and Singapore. The new Indian cities it has launched its services included Mangalore, Trichy and Amritsar. Air India Express also plans to start low-cost domestic flights but it would have to wait to acquire more aircraft.

"But anyway the situation would be reviewed after the Haj rush is over in January," Thulasidas said.

Air India Express currently has a fleet of 17 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, of which seven are leased. All the aircraft have single class configuration to carry up to 189 passengers.