Logistics

Flying high: Air India sees bookings to US double after laptop ban

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on April 03, 2017

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The airline has been able to hike fares by about ₹10,000

The laptop ban on certain flights to the US, especially from Gulf ports such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is turning into a big boon for national carrier Air India.

According to Air India sources, bookings to the US have doubled from 150 a day to 300 in the two weeks since the ban was announced.

The hardest hit from the ban is Dubai-based Emirates airline, which is trying to ensure that passengers are able to use their laptops till the boarding gate.

Air India has also been able to take advantage of the situation by increasing fares by about ₹10,000 on an average.

The US-bound flights are also the most profitable ones for the airline with high occupancy and significant returns. For example, operating a flight from Delhi to San Francisco and back costs Air India about ₹1.8 crore while the airline earns ₹2-2.5 crore.

Air India in fiscal 2017 earned over ₹3,200 crore from the US operations alone, growing at about 17 per cent year-over-year, out of its overall revenues of ₹16,200 crore from flight tickets across the globe. With the ban coming into place, the airline expects the revenue to grow much faster as it is seeing several business travellers from the Gulf coming to India to fly to the US.

Air India flights from Dubai and Abu Dhabi are already running at over 83 per cent capacity as against less than 75 per cent capacity before the ban.

“The US is definitely one of the most profitable sectors for us. The laptop ban will surely help us grow further on the route as business travellers who are spending 14-17 hours on a flight need to work on their laptops. We would be adding more connections to the US in the next one year,” Ashwani Lohani, CMD, Air India, told BusinessLine.

Published on April 03, 2017
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