Air India to link Delhi-Washington, focus on other international and regional flight expansion

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New Delhi–In a major expansion drive, national passenger carrier Air India on Wednesday said it plans to add six new international destinations to its network in 2017.

“We are going to add six more international spots this year,” said Ashwani Lohani, Chairman and Managing Director, Air India.

“This year we are going to connect Delhi with Tel Aviv and Delhi with Washington,” Lohani said at the travel trade show — SATTE 2017 — which is being organised by UBM India at Pragati Maidan here from February 15 to 17.

According to Lohani, the airline is looking at connecting New Delhi with Stockholm or Copenhagen, Mumbai with Franfurt, and Mumbai with either Nairobi or Johanessburg.

Last year, the airline added four new international destinations including New Delhi-San Francisco, Delhi-Vienna, Delhi-Madrid and Ahmedabad-London.

On the regional aviation front, Lohani disclosed that the airline will start the country’s “first necklace flight”.

The unique flight will start from Kolkata in the morning hours onwards to Raipur from where it will head towards Indore and then to Ahmedabad and subsequently Jaipur. It will finally terminate operations in New Delhi in the evening.

“This is not the only thing we are doing. We are going to base an aircraft in Jaipur and connect Jaipur with Bikaner, Jaipur with Jaiselmer, Jaipur with Jodhpur and so on,” Lohani revealed.

“We are also going to add Airbus 320s to our fleet. Will be adding more flights between the tier I cities.”

Besides, the national passenger carrier plans to add more turboprop aircraft in its fleet. Currently, Air India has 10 turboprops which operate on regional routes.

“We will be adding another 40 (aircraft) in the next 2-3 years. By the end of this year, it will become 25 (aircraft) which will fly to various tier II and tier III cities,” Lohani added. (IANS)


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