Air India Express

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Air India Express
IATA ICAO Callsign
Commenced operations29 April 2005; 18 years ago (2005-04-29)
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programTata NeuPass
Fleet size30
Parent companyAir India Limited
HeadquartersGurgaon, Haryana, India[3]
Key people
RevenueIncrease 5,669 crore (US$710 million) (2023)[4]
Net incomeIncrease117 crore (US$15 million) (2023)[4]
Employees1,276 (as of 31 March 2018)[4]

Air India Express is an Indian low-cost airline and a wholly owned subsidiary of Indian flag carrier airline Air India.[5] Currently it is headquartered in Kochi, Kerala which will be shifted to Gurgaon, Haryana in coming months.[6] It operates around 649 flights per week to 33 destinations including the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The airline carries around 4.3  million passengers every year connecting 140 city pairs.[7] It has secondary hubs in Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur, Tiruchirappalli, Kozhikode, Mangaluru, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Dubai.


Air India Express came into existence 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 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 low-cost carriers worldwide and within the region. As a low-cost carrier, the airline operates point-to-point flights with multiple hubs all over India.[8]

In December 2012, Air India ratified the proposal to move the headquarters to Kochi in January 2013 and to establish a new MRO[clarification needed] base at Thiruvananthapuram.[9][10]

Rebranding and Merger[edit]

During early 2023, reports emerged stating that the Tata Group (who had taken over Air India) was seeking to consolidate its 4 airlines into 2 airlines, one full service carrier and one low-cost carrier. The group acquired its remaining stake in AirAsia India, which was rebranded as AIX Connect, and talks began to merge Air India Express and AIX Connect. The group later confirmed the merger and applied for a merger request with the necessary authorities. The merger was later approved by the Competition Commission of India. AIX Connect has started transferring its aircraft and crew to Air India Express in preparation for the merger.[11][12]

During the 2023 Paris Air Show, Air India placed an order for 470 aircraft which included an order for 190 737 Max aircraft. The airline later transferred its 737 Max order to Air India Express with deliveries commencing from October 2023. The airline revealed its plan to have 170 aircraft within 5 years.[13]

Post Tata Group's acquisition of Air India reports began emerging that the group was looking to rebrand the low-cost subsidiary and changes to the business model. The airline began focusing more on non-trunk routes and began to pull out of routes requiring high business capacity, later Air India would take over those routes. The airline and Air India also began to stay away from each other's routes, with Air India Express connecting smaller cities and feeding on Air India's long-haul network. Then on 18th October the airline revealed its new logo, livery and website along with the introduction of its first Boeing 737 MAX 8.[14][15][16][17]


As per the audited accounts approved by the Airline’s Board of Directors on 27 October 2020, the Airline’s operating revenues grew by over 25% from 4,172 crore (US$520 million) in the fiscal year 2018–19 to 5,219 crore (US$650 million) in fiscal year 2019–20.[18]

On 9 November 2018, the airline posted a net profit of 262 crore (US$33 million), the third consecutive year that it reported a profit, and registering an operating profit for the previous five years.

As per the accounts placed and approved by the airline's board of directors, Air India Express made a net profit of 296.7 crore (US$37 million) in fiscal year 2016–17.[19] The revenues increased by 14% recording a total revenue of 3,335 crore (US$420 million) Average daily aircraft utilisation rose to 12.2 hours from 11.3 hours. The capacity offered by the airline went up by 33%; the fleet size progressively increased from 17 to 23 aircraft; and the number of passengers carried increased by 22%, to 3.42 million from 2.8 million in 2015–16.[20]

On 3 September 2016 the company announced that it had earned a net profit for the first time since its inception.[21] As per accounts placed and approved by the airline's board of directors, the airline made a net profit of 3,616,800,000 ₹ or 361.68 crore (US$45 million) in fiscal year 2015–16 against a loss of 61 crores (or 61,000,000) registered in fiscal year 2014–15. In the fiscal year 2015–16, the airline witnessed a passenger load factor of 82.3% against 81.4% in the previous year, while average daily aircraft utilisation 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.[22]


On 8 October 2021, Air India, along with its low-cost carrier Air India Express and fifty percent of AISATS, a ground handling company, were sold for ₹18,000 crores (US$2.5 billion) to Talace Private Limited, a Tata Sons' special-purpose entity. The airlines were later handed over to the Tata Group. In 2023, it was announced that Vistara will merge with Air India and Air India Express with AirAsia India (which was renamed as AIX Connect)[23] by 2024.[24]

Old Logo

On 18 October 2023, The Tata Group launched a rebranded Air India Express logo and livery, heavily based on Air India’s new identity known as “The Vista”, promising a fresh, vibrant, and visually engaging airline targeting India’s budget-friendly aviation market. A new rebranded website also went live with new branding.[25] The first flight after the rebranding, IX 5101, took off from Mumbai to Delhi on 19th October 2023.


Air India Express focuses on providing international flights from Tier II cities in India, to the Persian Gulf region and South East Asia. The airline flies to 44 destinations as of April 2023 with a primary hub located at Cochin International Airport in Kochi.[26][27][28]

On the domestic front, the airline operates from the states of Kerala, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. In its international arena, the airline mainly connects Indian cities with Persian Gulf countries and Singapore in the east. After the privatization and merger, the airline will domestically fly to the states of Karnataka, West Bengal, Telangana, Odisha, Assam, Goa, Manipur, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.

Codeshare agreements


An Air India Express Boeing 737-800
An Air India Express Boeing 737-800 at Cochin International Airport. Each aircraft in the fleet has a different image on the tail

As of November 2023, Air India Express operates the following aircraft:[30]

Air India Express fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
Airbus A320-200 23 180 To be Transferred from AIX Connect[31]
Airbus A320neo 1 4 186 To be Transferred from AIX Connect[31]
Boeing 737-800 16 186
8 189
Boeing 737 MAX 8 3 47 176 [32]
Total 30 74

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 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 six 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 only eight survivors.[33][34][35][36][37]
  • On 9 July 2012, an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 skidded on landing, during heavy rain at Calicut International Airport. Aircraft's landing gear impacted with runway beacons, breaking them. There were no casualties on board.[38]
  • On 12 October 2018, Air India Express Flight 611 was a UAE bound Boeing 737-800 (registered VT-AYD) that suffered a tail strike on take off, before colliding with the localiser antenna and boundary wall of Tiruchirappalli International Airport. This resulted in severe structural damage to the undercarriage, landing gear, flight control surfaces and engine cowling. The crew continued to fly towards Dubai contrary to Boeing's tail strike checklist, reassured by normal instrumentation. When the plane was nearing the Middle East, the pilot was ordered to fly to Mumbai, India. It landed uneventfully and was repaired at a substantial cost.[39]
  • On 7 August 2020, Air India Express Flight 1344, a Boeing 737–800 (registered VT-AXH), went into an uncontrolled skid on the runway due to heavy rain,[40] fell into a valley and broke into three pieces after overrunning the table-top runway at Calicut International Airport. 21 people on board were killed, including both pilots, and at least 167 were injured.[41][42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Trichy AIX Base Station". 26 October 2021. Archived from the original on 26 October 2021. Retrieved 26 October 2021 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ "Air India Express on". Retrieved 21 November 2023.
  3. ^ Kaur, Lavpreet. "Merged Air India Express finds new HQ in Gurugram". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  4. ^ a b c "Tata Sons FY23 Annual report" (PDF). Air India. 19 October 2019. p. 6.
  5. ^ "Air India to achieve fiscal targets". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  6. ^ Kaur, Lavpreet. "Merged Air India Express finds new HQ in Gurugram". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  7. ^ "About Air India Express". Air India Express. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  8. ^ "India's common man flies". The Asia Times Online. Archived from the original on 24 May 2005. Retrieved 20 September 2016.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  9. ^ Ramavarman, T. (14 December 2012). "Shifting of Air India Express headquarters to Kochi gets nod". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  10. ^ "Air India Express route scheduling from city soon". The Hindu. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Air India Group completes integration of Air India Express and AirAsia India". 28 March 2023. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  12. ^ Sharma, Anu (25 July 2023). "AirAsia seeks early merger with AI Express". mint. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  13. ^ Sharma, Anu (18 October 2023). "New Air India Express eyes 170 planes in 5 years". mint. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  14. ^ Joshi, Gaurav (16 August 2023). "Air India And Air India Express Staying Clear Of Each Other's Routes". Simple Flying. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  15. ^ Joshi, Gaurav (26 October 2023). "Air India Express Could Add More International Routes This Winter". Simple Flying. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  16. ^ "Air India Express unveils new brand identity & livery alongside network expansion plans - ET TravelWorld". Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  17. ^ Mishra, Anu Sharma,Mihir (16 August 2023). "AI, AI Express integration: Code share, route recast". mint. Retrieved 31 October 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ "Air India Express reports highest-ever net profit at Rs 412.77 crore". Business Standard. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  19. ^ "Air India Express clocks ₹297-cr profit in FY-17". Business Line. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Air India Express clocks net profit for second year". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  21. ^ "AI Express reports Rs 262 crore profit for FY18". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  22. ^ "Air India Express turns profitable for the first time". The Economic Times. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  23. ^ "Tatas rename AirAsia India as AIX Connect ahead of merger". The Times of India. 26 December 2022. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 17 October 2023.
  24. ^ "Tata Group Seeks CCI's Nod To Merge Vistara With Air India". Outlook India. 19 April 2023. Retrieved 27 June 2023.
  25. ^ Naik, Yogesh (18 October 2023). "Air India Express unveils new brand identity and aircraft livery". Hindustan Times.
  26. ^ "Summer timetable 2017: 26th March 2017 to 28th October 2017" (PDF). Air India Express. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 September 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  27. ^ "Madurai-Singapore flight service to start from September 15". The Times of India. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  28. ^ "Air India Express airline profile". CAPA Centre for Aviation. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  29. ^ "Air India begins Air India Express codeshare partnership from Dec 2016". Airlineroute. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  30. ^ "Air India Express Fleet Details and History". Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  31. ^ a b "Air Asia India completes transfer of A320 VT-ATJ aircraft to Air India Express as part of fleet merger". Moneycontrol. 6 October 2023. Retrieved 6 October 2023.
  32. ^ "Air India Express set to induct 50 new Boeing 737 MAX planes in next 15 months". The Economic Times. 13 October 2023. Retrieved 27 October 2023.
  33. ^ "Jet crash kills 158 in India; 8 survive". 23 May 2010. Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  34. ^ "Indian official: 158 dead in Air India plane crash in Mangalore". BNO News. 22 May 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  35. ^ "Air India flight from Dubai crashes in India". NBC News. 21 May 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  36. ^ "Casualties feared in Air India crash". CNN. 22 May 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  37. ^ "India plane crash in Mangalore leaves nearly 160 dead". BBC News. 22 May 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  38. ^ Jolly, Asit (30 November 199). "Politics and commercial considerations override safety concerns for DGCA". India Today. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  39. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737-8HG (WL) VT-AYD Tiruchirappalli-Civil Airport (TRZ)". Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  40. ^ "Express Flight Crash LIVE Updates: 15 Including Pilot Dead, 123 Injured". OdishaTV. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  41. ^ "Live News: Air India Express flight from Dubai over shoots table top runway". The Economic Times. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  42. ^ "Both Pilots Among 18 Killed In Air India Express Plane Crash In Kerala: Updates". Retrieved 10 August 2020.

External links[edit]