State-owned Indian Airlines (IA) plans to stack up its capacity in a major way and expects to add another 10,000 seats of travel per day by December 2007 over the current 42,000 seats, a nearly 25 per cent increase in its passenger capacity.
Besides, the airline is exploring new international markets such as South Africa, Australia, China and the United Kingdom and has plans to start flights to some cities in these countries by the winter of 2007.
An IA spokesman told Hindustan Times that the airline, however, does not intend to increase the number of destinations. It plans to expand by boosting the frequency of flights in its existing 54 destinations and also by providing more connections between them.
"There will be new links that will be offered such as between Bangalore and Bhubaneshwar, or a Delhi-Tirupati flight. The current ratio of seats offered on international and domestic routes is 35:65 and the additional seats will maintain this ratio", the spokesman said.
Over the next one year, the airline is expecting the delivery of six new Airbus 319s and another leased A-320.
The spokesman said that to meet the requirements of an expanding fleet, IA has planned for the recruitment of an "adequate number of pilots, cabin crew and technical personnel."
It has also entered into a settlement with the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), by which the pilots will perform a fourth landing of A-320 aircraft every day without violating their current flight and duty time limits.
IA is also setting up a comprehensive passenger service system (PSS) involving a host of measures including details of passengers information, mobile phone enabled ticket reservation and baggage facilitation.
The new PSS will cost Rs 30 crore and is designed to manage seven million passengers every year. Besides, it also recently signed agreements with two major global distribution service (GDS) providers, Galileo and Amadeus.