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AirAsia India to increase fleet size to 29 by year-end, says COO Sanjay Kumar

AirAsia India operates 175 daily flights over 20 destinations across the country, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad. (Mint)Premium
AirAsia India operates 175 daily flights over 20 destinations across the country, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad. (Mint)

  • Airline has 23 aircraft in its fleet and will induct a couple of aircraft during the next fortnight taking its fleet size to 25
  • DGCA approves the operation of 1,345 departures every week by AirAsia India in the upcoming winter schedule between 27 Oct 2019 and 28 Mar 2020

NEW DELHI : Budget carrier AirAsia India will increase its fleet size to 29 aircraft by December-end, as it aims to increase frequencies to metro cities and prune unprofitable routes in the upcoming winter schedule, said Sanjay Kumar, chief operating officer of the airline.

AirAsia, a joint venture between Tata Sons Pvt. Ltd and Malaysia-based AirAsia Berhad, has 23 aircraft and will induct two aircraft in the next fortnight, he added.

Tata Sons holds a 51% stake in the airline, while AirAsia Berhad holds a 49% stake.

AirAsia India operates 175 daily flights to over 20 destinations across the country, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

The airline operates an Airbus A320 fleet that’s powered by CFM engines. CFM International is a joint venture between US-based GE Aviation and French aerospace engine manufacturer Safran Aircraft Engines.

“We don’t want to spread too thin and operate at stations with only one flight or so. Our aim is to strengthen our network, especially in metros, and have multiple frequencies between two cities," said Kumar.

The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has approved the operation of 1,345 departures every week by AirAsia India in the upcoming winter schedule between 27 October 2019 and 28 March 2020. This is an increase of 326 departures every week compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.

This will lead to the airline increasing the frequencies of flights on busy metro routes, including Mumbai-Pune, New Delhi-Chennai, Delhi-Bengaluru, New Delhi-Hyderabad, Guwahati-New Delhi, Guwahati-Kolkata, Guwahati-Bengaluru, and New Delhi-Srinagar.

AirAsia India recently started a daily flight on the Delhi-Jaipur route and flights from Agartala to destinations such as Guwahati, Imphal, Kolkata and New Delhi from 20 October.

“Agartala is now connected to four destinations in the country on the very first day of the operations. This is the kind of philosophy we are going to follow, especially when we open a (new) station and network," Kumar said.

All the airline’s upcoming new stations will be connected to other destinations across its network.

During the winter schedule, Indian airlines are set to operate 23,403 departures per week covering 103 airports, as compared to 23,117 departures a week during the winter schedule of the previous year.

About 3,600 weekly departures were reduced because of the sudden suspension of operations by Jet Airways (India) Ltd from the scheduled domestic aviation, DGCA had recently said. “Prompt steps by the government has filled the void created by Jet Airways and has helped to achieve growth of 1.2% compared to winter schedule 2018," it had added.

Jet Airways had grounded its operations in April 2019 following an acute cash crunch.

AirAsia India has temporarily been allocated some of the slots at major airports that earlier belonged to Jet Airways, Kumar said. “This has helped us increase frequencies between key metro cities."

AirAsia India carried 725,000 domestic passengers during September to register 6.3% market share. The airline had carried 498,000 passengers during September 2018 with a market share of 4.4%.

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