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AI Express to start first direct Sharjah-Surat flight service from Feb 16

PTI

Dubai: Air India Express will launch its first direct flight service from Surat to Sharjah on February 16 and will also expand services from Gulf to Kannur in Kerala.

The carrier, the international budget arm of Air India, will deploy Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft on this route. The flight will depart from Sharjah at 7:35 PM and arrive in Surat at 11:45 PM on Mondays and Saturdays, the airline announced in a statement.

From Surat, the flight will depart at 12:30 AM with arrival into Sharjah at 02:15 AM on Tuesdays and Sundays. This service will be upgraded to four flights a week in the summer schedule.

Surat-Sharjah will be the 47th non-stop direct connection of Air India Express between destinations in India and the Gulf region. Air India Express is set to further expand its operations in its summer schedule 2019, which shall commence on March 31, 2019.

Operating with a fleet of 25 Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft, the airline will have 653 weekly departures in the new schedule, as against 621 departures per week currently. The increase in operations will be achieved through capacity addition and by increasing aircraft utilisation, which is poised to go up from about 13.3 hours currently to 13.4 hours per day per aircraft in the summer schedule, the airline said.

“Summer 2019 will witness additional capacity being deployed to strengthen the network between Gulf and Kerala. There will be two more flights on Mondays and Fridays, bringing the total flights on Kannur – Abu Dhabi sector to five flights per week Launch of thrice weekly flights from Kannur to Muscat,” the statement said.

According to the statement, the airline has applied for necessary slot approvals for all the above mentioned new operations and enhancements planned from Kannur.

The airline will operate five flights on the Kozhikode -Riyadh sector in the Summer Schedule’19 instead of the present four services per week. The additional flight will operate on Fridays at the existing timings.

The year 2018 witnessed addition of two more aircraft, bringing the total fleet strength of the Airline to 25 Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft. The Airline has plans to further expand its fleet for which necessary approvals are in the process of being obtained. The Airline expects its turnover to cross the Rs 4000 crore mark in FY 2018-19.

Despite the challenges posed by high fuel cost in the first eight months of the year, the Airline expects to generate net profit in the region of Rs 250 crores, it said. The airline has been reporting net profit consecutively during the last three financial years.