Mohammed Ashraf / Arab News
Dammam, May 24: Air India Express, which completed three years of service this week, is planning to commence services to Dammam and Kuwait City from Kerala, Mangalore and Ahmedabad shortly. The AIE also has plans to fly to Dubai from Goa, Pune, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. Flights will be operated from Kolkota to Singapore and Bangkok via Dhaka, the Indian flag carrier said in a statement.
The AIE which started in 2005 April has recorded a threefold increase in number of passengers within three years and the total number of passengers carried by the airline during 2005-06 was around half a million. In 2007-08, the number of passengers flying on the no-frills airline went up to 1.8 million, a growth of 200 percent, while its annual revenue touched around Rs12bn, it said. The AIE is a whol ly owned subsidiary of National Aviation Company of India (NACIL) floated to operate budget flights targeting low-income Indian workers in the Gulf.
"Air-India Express gives its passengers all the essential on-board services needed for a comfortable flight. Free standardized meals and limited on-board entertainment facilities are available," the statement said.
Meanwhile, Emirates Airlines has announced its six-flights-a-week service to Kozhikode, effective from July 1. Kozhikode is the Emirates' third gateway in the state after Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, and its 10th in India. The UAE-based airline held a road show in the northern Kerala city last week to promote its products and to brief the travel trade on the services offered.
A high-level Emirates delegation led by Salem Obaidalla, senior vice-president commercial operations, West Asia and Indian Ocean addressed the gathering of over 600 agents from Kozhikode and its surrounding districts including Kannur, Palakkad, Mallapuram, Thalassery and Thrissur.
"We are gearing up for the launch of our services. In the past few months, we have stepped up our recruitment efforts and will soon start training our newly appointed staff to serve the city's travelers. In Kozhikode, we will establish a town office, an airport office as well as a separate cargo office to manage the city's passenger and cargo requirements," Salem said. As an introductory offer, the airline will charge Rs7,500 for one-way and Rs14,995 two-way for economy class on this route.
Two foreign airline companies, Air Arabia and RAK Airways, have already started service to Gulf sector from this airport.