Air India parent, National Aviation Company Ltd (Nacil), reportedly announced plans to transfer five of the carrier’s A320 aircraft to Air India Express by Dec-2009 (Business Standard, 22-Sep-09). Air India Express would operate the aircraft on ten new routes as part of its Winter Schedule 2009/10. The seats on each aircraft would reportedly be increased from 144 to 168 with the conversion to a single Economy class.
Air India to transfer five additional aircraft to low cost unit
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Australia-India air travel market grows rapidly but SE Asian hubs hinder nonstop services
The Australia-India market has experienced rapid growth over the last three years, prompting Australia to lobby for more direct services. Visitor arrivals from India are up 50% since mid-2013, and total passenger traffic between the two countries is up approximately 30%.
Air India launched services to Melbourne and Sydney in 2013 but the Australia-India market is still dominated by Southeast Asian flag carriers. Singapore Airlines has been able to maintain a leading 41% share of the market. Malaysia Airlines also still carries more Australia-India passengers than Air India.
Attracting more nonstop flights from Air India, or the possible launch of nonstop flights to India by Australian carriers, will not be easy despite growing demand. Southeast Asia’s network airlines have a competitive advantage as they serve several gateways in both Australia and India. Southeast Asia’s growing medium/long haul LCCs have also started to compete in the Australia-India market and are well positioned to take a large share of the anticipated growth.