Air India will expand northeast operations to boost regional connectivity
New Delhi: National carrier Air India plans to expand its services in the northeast as it eyes a major pie in the overall traffic in the region amid a government push for regional connectivity.
Air India’s chairman and managing director (CMD) Ashwani Lohani will visit three northeastern states next month to review operations in the region. It will be Lohani’s first visit to the region in his capacity as AI’s CMD. “We are focused on increasing connectivity to the northeast by injecting more flights of our Airbus and Turboprop aircraft,” Lohani said.
Lohani is likely to survey several airports in the region to increase frequency, add new routes and, if required, discontinue non-profitable ones. Within the northeastern region, Air India and its subsidiary, Alliance Air, cater to 10 destinations, including Guwahati. The nine other destinations are in six of the seven states of the region—Agartala (Tripura), Aizawl (Mizoram), Dimapur (Nagaland), Imphal (Manipur), Shillong (Meghalaya), Dibrugarh, Silchar, Tezpur and Lilabari (all in Assam).
“Frequency on the Delhi-Guwahati route too is likely to be increased,” an airline source said. He also added that the additional flights are likely to be operational as part of the winter schedule, which kicks in from 29 October this year. From Delhi, Air India operates a daily flight each to Guwahati, Imphal and Bagdogra.
The national carrier and its subsidiary operate 19 flights from Kolkata to the northeastern states. Further, there are flights from Guwahati to Imphal, Lilabari and Tezpur.