Air India Express
|Commenced operations||29 April 2005|
|Company slogan||"Simply PriceLess"|
|Parent company||Air India Limited|
|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 Air India. It operates nearly 375 flights per week to 26 destinations including Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Air India Express came to being on April 29, 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. Air India Express was Air India’s response to the growing popularity of LCC’s worldwide and in the region. Being a low cost airline, 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 375 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 September 3, 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.
Air India Express focuses on providing international flights from Tier II cities. The airline flies to 13 international destinations including Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Ras Al Khaimah, Bahrain, Dammam, Doha, Kuwait, Muscat, Salalah, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur from from 13 Indian cities namely Kozhikode, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangalore, Chennai, Tiruchirapalli, Mumbai, Pune, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Lucknow, Jaipur, Varanasi & New Delhi. It expanded operations to Delhi beginning May 2016.
On the domestic front, Air India Express operates flights between Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram-Chennai, Kozhikode-Thiruvananthapuram-Kozhikode, Kochi-Thiruvananthapuram-Kochi and Kochi-Kozhikode. The airline operates around 200 flights per week, from southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala in India but has expanded its operations to New Delhi with the introduction of daily flights between Delhi- Dubai and Delhi - Sharjah in its Summer Schedule 2016.
The summer schedule has also witnessed increased operations from Mumbai. Two new services between Mumbai- Dubai and Mumbai – Sharjah started in April 2016.On the Kerala-Gulf sector,the frequency of flights has increased to 119 flights per week as of March 28, 2016. The airline has increased its focus in the Kozhikode sector, the largest revenue centre of the airline, by increasing its capacity to 11718 seats per week.
The frequency between Kozhikode and Dubai is being doubled from daily to two flights per day. Non- stop Dammam flights from Cochin is another addition to the summer schedule for 2016.On September 15, 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 in the Chandigarh-Sharjah route. Air India Express has also introduced daily direct flights to Sharjah from Tiruchirappalli and now operate daily flights from Varanasi to Sharjah.
The airline took delivery of its first aircraft on 22 February 2005 when it leased a new Boeing 737-800. As of September 2016[update], the Air India Express fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|Boeing 737-800||19||4||189||Aircraft on order to be delivered during 2016|
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 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 eight survivors and eight scheduled passengers who did not board the aircraft.
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