Air India gains ground
Following in the footsteps of Emirates Airlines, which had cut travel agent commission to one per cent, Cathay Pacific Group went a step further to zero commission in India — much to the plight of the travel trade community in the country. This, in addition to the ban of Middle Eastern airlines in the US and UK, could just be Air India’s chance to grab hold of a major chunk of the big Indian travel pie. Not only does the national carrier offer around 2-3 per cent agent commission, it now has many long-haul direct flights to various destinations in the US as well as Europe. In fact, Air India would also be playing a huge role in the Civil Aviation Ministry’s UDAN scheme for regional connectivity with its regional arm called Alliance Air. According to the results of the first round of bids for the UDAN-Regional Connectivity Scheme, Alliance Air would be flying to as many as 8-9 routes in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. With a huge expansion plan set out, Air India might just push itself ahead in Indian aviation.