Even as the state-carrier National Aviation Company of India Limited (Nacil) struggles to close the current financial year,the company is putting plans in place for the upcoming fiscal.
Apart from developing Frankfurt as its European hub,the airline has planned to launch Delhi-San Francisco from August 2009. It will also be increasing the frequency of Amritsar-London-Toronto from three to six flights per week. The Mumbai-London terminator flight (flight which terminates in London) will be fed with various points from south India. Similarly,Delhi-London terminator will be provided feeds from Kolkata and Dhaka. It will also introduce new flights to Kathmandu and Singapore on international circuit,and Cochin-Trivandrum on the domestic front. On its long haul flights,the airline will be inducting seven new Boeing aircraft (B777 ER AND B777 LR) from June to September. At the same time,on short haul flights,the airline will add 10 Airbus aircraft by September 2009.
According to an internal assessment done by Air India on the market outlook for 2009,the airline has said that both domestic and international market growth is expected to be sluggish. The fares and yields are expected to decline further,it said. It has blamed unprecedented fare volatility in the domestic sector and presence of low-cost carriers as reasons behind less than optimal performance. While the industry seat factors have declined to 64 per cent,Air India scraped through with a dismal 59 per cent. (there is a) migration from full service to low-cost; LCC component now over half of domestic market, Air India said in an internal review. On the international sector,the airline has blamed aggressively low fares and the relentless expansion of gulf airlines,which accounts for over 70 per cent of foreign airline capacity increase.
Given the global recession which has seen significant dip in demand,Air India has curtailed loss-making flights; cutting capacity both on domestic and international networks.
On the cards
• Frankfurt to be developed as the airlines European hub
• Delhi-San Francisco flight planned to be launched from August 2009
• Frequency of Amritsar-London-Toronto to be raised from three to six flights per week
• New flights to be introduced to Kathmandu and Singapore on the international circuit,and Cochin-Trivandrum on the domestic front