Assembly elections money spinner for Air India Express

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on May 18, 2011 Published on May 18, 2011

Boeing 737-800 aircraft of Air India Express   -  Business Line

The recently concluded Assembly elections in four States and a Union Territory have proved to be a money spinner for Air India Express Limited (AIEL), the low-cost arm of Air India.

Sources told Business Line that the airline earned around Rs 6 crore by providing its aircraft on charter to ferry paramilitary forces required for the peaceful conduct of polls.

Air India Express operated two charter flights on the Madurai/Chennai to Badgodgra route and six flights from Kolkata to Chennai/Madurai. While the Bagdogra flights were operated in mid-April, the flights to Kolkata were operated in May. About 1,200 paramilitary forces were reportedly flown by the airline.

“Bagdogra and Madurai are not airports to which the airline operates. Mounting these flights was a challenge as staff had to be positioned to handle the flights,” a source said. AIEL took up the charter operations despite no presence in the domestic skies. Most of the flights it operates connect Kerala to the Gulf region. The former Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Praful Patel, recently told Parliament that of the 156 weekly flights operated by the airline, 108 were operated to and from the Gulf region.

The additional earnings come at a time when Air India (Domestic) has been witnessing a steady decline in the number of passengers carried. Air India (Domestic) is the arm that operates flights within the country.   

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Published on May 18, 2011
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