Air India Express
|Commenced operations||29 April 2005|
|Fleet size||23 (February 2017)|
|Company slogan||"Simply PriceLess"|
|Parent company||Air India Limited|
|Headquarters||Kochi, Kerala, India|
|Key people||Ashwani Lohani (Chairman)
K. Shyam Sundar (CEO)
Air India Express is an Indian Low-cost carrier headquartered in Kochi. It is operated by Air India Charters Limited (AICL), a wholly owned subsidiary of flag carrier airline Air India. It operates nearly 596 flights per week to 30 destinations including the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Air India Express came to being on 29 April 2005, with the launch of three flights that took off simultaneously from Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. The airline was launched as a low-cost carrier (LCC) with the objective of providing convenient connectivity, to short-haul international routes, in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for the Indian expatriate community. Air India Express was Air India’s response to the growing popularity of LCCs worldwide and in the region. Being an LCC, the airline operates point-to-point flights without any hub.
In December 2012, Air India ratified the proposal to move the headquarters to Kochi in January 2013 and for establishing a new MRO base at Thiruvananthapuram. Presently, the airline carries out 596 weekly departures, involving about 1400 flight hours at an average stage length of about 3.75 hours. In terms of capacity, the airline offers about 170 million ASKMs per week. Its distribution system is entirely web-based. The company also launched the Air India Express Mobile App for making and modifying bookings and other customer and in-flight services.
On 3 September 2016 the company announced that it had earned a net profit for the first time since its inception. As per the accounts placed and approved by airline’s Board of Directors (on 31 August 2016), the airline made a net profit of Rs.361.68 Cr. in FY 2015-16 against the loss of Rs. 61 Cr. registered in FY 2014-15. In the FY 2015-16, the airline witnessed a passenger load factor of 82.3% against 81.4% in the previous year, while average daily aircraft utilization rose to 11.3 hours from 10.8 hours. The airline carried around 2.80 million passengers against 2.62 million carried in the previous year. As per a press release dated 30 November 2016, the airline has earned net profit of Rs. 415 Crores, as per the unaudited half yearly accounts placed and approved by the airline’s Board of Directors (on 29 November 2016).The airline has achieved operating revenue of Rs. 1897 Crores against Rs. 1609 Crores, earned in first half of financial year 15- 16. The airline has carried 1.64 million passengers during the period.
Air India Express focuses on providing international flights from Tier II cities in India, to the Gulf and South East Asia. It maintains aircraft bases at Dubai International Airport and at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. As of November 2016, the airline flies to 15 international destinations from 15 Indian cities. It expanded operations to Delhi beginning May 2016.
On the domestic front, the airline operates around 200 flights per week, from the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. The airline has increased its focus on the Kozhikode market, the largest revenue centre of the airline.
On 15 September 2016, Air India Express became the first airline to connect Chandigarh directly to an international destination by the introduction of a new thrice-weekly service to Sharjah. Air India Express has also introduced daily direct flights to Sharjah from Tiruchirappalli and now operate daily flights from Varanasi to Sharjah.
On 2 December 2016, Air India Express launched its first flight to Riyadh from Kozhikkode Karipur International Airport. Kozhikode-Riyadh is the longest service in Air India Express’ network. Air India Express now operates 134 services per week between Kozhikode and the Middle East, making Kozhikode the single largest on-line destination for the Airline.
The airline took delivery of its first aircraft on 22 February 2005 when it leased a new Boeing 737-800.
Each Air India Express aircraft features a different tail design that reflects a facet of Indian culture, history and tradition.
Accidents and incidents
On 22 May 2010, Air India Express Flight 812, a Boeing 737-800 (registered VT-AXV) flying on the Dubai–Mangalore route, overshot runway 24 on landing at Mangalore Airport, killing 152 passengers and 6 crew members of the 166 people on board. The aircraft crashed into a wooded valley at the end of the runway and burst into flames. There were eight survivors.
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