The Indian LCC has huge plans for future development. Air India’s low-cost arm Air India Express is looking to develop its international presence under its new owner, the Tata Group.
One of the airline’s senior executives recently said at an event and said that the carrier intends to expand its network rapidly in the next few years.
Asia 2022 event in Da Nang, Vietnam
Several aviation executives and leaders attended the recently concluded Routes Asia 2022 event in Da Nang, Vietnam. Air India Express was also among the various airlines from the Asia-Pacific region present there, including all major Indian carriers, Qantas, Air New Zealand, Scoot, and VietJet Air, among others.
Telling at the event, Air India Express’ Chief of Commercial Tara Naidu said the budget carrier wants to grow its network further under its new owner while maintaining its strategy of offering inter-regional routes within a six-hour stage length.
Over the next five years, AI Express could connect second and third-tier cities in India with several more countries as part of a “huge” expansion plan. According to Naidu, approximately 30 countries are being explored by Air India Express, including Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkey, and Vietnam. Routesonline quotes her as telling,
“There are some markets where there is no direct connectivity, which is strange because they are huge markets. We believe that it’s going to be a win-win for us—it will stimulate the increase of tourism in both directions and ease business connectivity.”
Air India Express offers budget flights from its Indian
Air India Express offers budget flights from its Indian bases at Kochi, Delhi, Mumbai, Mangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, and Kozhikode, among others, to 14 international destinations, especially in the Middle East.
The airline flies high-density point-to-point routes from Indian cities to places like Dubai, Sharjah, and Muscat, which are among its biggest international destinations by ability. According to ch-aviation, the airline operates 24 Boeing 737-800 aircraft but expects to add more shortly.
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Naidu told that apart from inducting new aircraft, AI Express could also implement new interline and codeshare deals with other carriers to gain additional market reach and access to market segments it wouldn’t have otherwise.
Air India and Vistara
Air India Express is one of four airlines under the Tata Brand. While full-service Air India and Vistara are predicted to join forces eventually, AI Express is speculated to connect with AirAsia India to form the Tata Group’s consolidated budget entity.
In April, Air India sought permission from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to develop the Bengaluru-based AirAsia India, in which the Tatas have a majority stake at 83.67%. While there has been no formal statement, the merger – if and when that happens – is speculated to support AI Express in furthering its future ambitions for regional expansion.
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