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Air India Express Plans Expansion Of Fleet

A plan is being prepared amid the government working on a roadmap for disinvestment in Air India.
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Air India Express posted a net profit of Rs 296.7 crore in 2016-17
Air India Express posted a net profit of Rs 296.7 crore in 2016-17
New Delhi: Air India Express is preparing a 10-year vision document as it looks at expanding its fleet and flying to more foreign destinations, a senior airline official said. The plan is being prepared amid the government working on a roadmap for disinvestment in Air India, the debt laden parent of the low-cost carrier which remains bullish on growth prospects. While the national carrier has been in the red for long, Air India Express remained in the black for a second consecutive year, posting a net profit of Rs 296.7 crore in 2016-17.

"It is business as usual" and the the airline would keep

growing, Air India Express CEO K Shyam Sundar said in response

to queries on whether there are business uncertainties in the

wake of Air India disinvestment decision.

On future plans, he said the carrier would expand its

aircraft fleet and fly to more overseas destinations.

"The airline is in the process of drawing up a long term

plan that will focus on expanding the fleet as well as the

overseas footprint. The airline is also looking to consolidate

the existing operations," Sundar told PTI.

Air India Express has a fleet of 23 Boeing 737-800NG

aircraft, each having a seating capacity for 189 people.

"A ten-year vision document for Air India Express is

being prepared. Consulting firms KPMG and ICF have been tasked

with the job," Sundar said.

The airline would also be firming up its fleet strategy

based on short term and long term priorities.

It flies to 15 international destinations including

Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Bahrain, Doha,

Kuwait, Muscat, Salalah, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Riyadh and

Dhaka.

On domestic routes, it has flights between Chennai-

Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode-Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi-

Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi-Kozhikode.

AI Express has 545 weekly departures and it flew 3.4

million passengers in 2016-17.

Boosted by higher revenues and reduction in costs, the

airline posted a net profit of Rs 296.7 crore in the last

financial year even though it had declined from Rs 361.68

crore recorded in 2015-16 period.

AI Express, which has been operationally profitable for

the last four years, saw its revenue rise to Rs 3,335 crore in

2016-17.

"Prudent commercial and management interventions

including better utilisation of its assets gave rise to

reduction of about 5-7 per cent in unit costs contributing to

the positive financial outcome (in 2016-17)," the airline had

said while announcing the results last month.

On June 28, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs,

gave its in-principle approval for considering strategic

disinvestment of Air India and five of its subsidiaries. Air

India Express is one of the subsidiaries.

A group of ministers, headed by finance minister Arun

Jaitley, would be deciding on the final contours of the

disinvestment process. Among other issues, the panel would be

looking at the de-merger and strategic disinvestment of three

profit-making subsidiaries.

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