Even as the first fortnight of operations of first-ever international flight to Sharjah has received a tepid response — on an average only 110 of 186 seats are taken (around 60% occupancy) — for Air India Express, the government-owned company has expansion plans.
By March next year, the low-cost arm of Air India will start flights to Singapore and Bangkok.
As is the case with the Sharjah flight that runs three days a week — Monday, Thursday and Saturday — the flights to these two destinations will also be thrice a week each (days to be decided later).
Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani told Hindustan Times over phone, “We have not decided on the exact date of the launch of the flights in March next year. We hope for success.”
Another official added, “We are not happy with the traffic on the Sharjah flight, but hope that it will improve. Air India had sought report from us on traffic to Singapore and Bangkok.”
‘DUBAI FLIGHT GETS BETTER RESPONSE’
IndiGo, the airline that started the second flight to Dubai on September 26, claims that on its flight, an average of 150 seats on 180 are taken for an occupancy of around 80%.
AIRPORT NEEDS FACILITIES
So, even as international flights have started, the airport still lacks facilities that are needed.
Money exchange services, the requisite number of ATMs, internet and duty-free shops have not yet been set up.
Airport chief executive officer Suniel Dutt said, “We have floated tenders for providing the amenities and hope it will be provided soon.”
Members of a Punjab and Haryana high court committee, led by senior advocate ML Sarin had visited the airport and found that facilities were not being provided due to delay in tendering.