New Delhi: Air India Ltd has recorded a 20% growth in revenue in March-April 2018 and has embarked on a route analysis exercise, focussing on increasing flying hours of each of its aircraft, to add more trips, said Pradeep Singh Kharola, chairman and managing director of Air India.

The airline is focussing on improving the operational efficiency both in the domestic and international sectors even as it is buoyed over the load factor, on time performance and revenue growth, Kharola told PTI.

“During March-April, the revenue has increased by about 20% as compared to the same period last year at roughly about Rs3,000 crore, though expenses continue to remain high," he said, adding that the airline has benefitted from the overall growth in the aviation market.

He pinned high hopes on international routes, generating 70% of Air India’s total revenue, stating that the new destinations such as Tel Aviv is giving good returns to the carrier. The increase of frequency to the San Francisco route to nine days a week is expected to give the airline Rs90 crore a month.

“We are focussing on improving on the operational efficiency. We are doing our route analysis and all, finding out which are the more yielding routes and we are focussing on those routes. “At the same time, we want to increase the flying hours of each aircraft, we are trying to push the number of hours so that with the same aircraft we can do more trips," Kharola said.

According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Air India had a market share of 13.4% in March 2018. With a fleet of over 150 aircraft, Air India currently boasts of over 2,500 international prime-time slots per week in 43 destinations and 3,800 domestic slots in 54 destinations.

Kharola, however, did not elaborate about the network analysis exercise or the new routes the airline is eyeing, especially in the international sector. However, he hinted that the African continent promises to hold a better future for the airline.

In February, the civil aviation ministry said Air India has been “consistently improving" its overall performance and more than doubled its operating profit to Rs298.03 crore in 2016-17. During the same period, the airline’s net loss widened to Rs5,765.16 crore.

In 2015-16, Air India had an operating profit of Rs105 crore, while the net loss stood at Rs3,836.77 crore.

The ailing airline has been put on the block with the government proposing to divest 76% of its stake in the airline.

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