Fly­ing sky-high with growth

At a time when most do­mes­tic air­lines are grap­pling with losses and fi­nan­cial cri­sis, Air In­dia Ex­press has bucked the trend of a de­clin­ing sce­nario with the fourth straight year of net profit.

TravTalk - India - - AVIATION - Manas Dwivedi

R wit­ness sim­i­lar suc­cess this 2019. K Shyam Sun­dar, CEO, the air­line has been grow­ing con­tin­u­ously for the past four years. “In 2016-17, we saw a whooper of a growth. Dur­ing 2017-18, we wit­nessed growth that was an im­pact of all the new air­craft com­ing to us over the years. We ac­cu­mu­lated 14 per cent growth, we had a higher load fac­tor, and our yields went up by 16 per cent. Dur­ing 2018-19, we did much bet­ter than the year be­fore. reach and tar­gets. To­day, the util­i­sa­tion of our air­craft is 14 hours a day, which is phe­nom­e­nal,” says Sun­dar. The wholly-owned sub­sidiary of be­lea­guered state-run car­rier look­ing at its fourth straight year player in con­nect­ing south­ern In­dia to the Mid­dle East, Sun­dar been suc­cess­ful in set­ting it­self apart from other LCCs in many ways. He says, “We have a ‘stage length’ of about four hours be­tween land­ings, which means that we have a very low en­gi­neer­ing cost. We have a good book­ing sys­tem and an­cil­lary rev­enues, which are im­por­tant To me, the most im­por­tant thing is op­er­at­ing from non-metro cities and not from Mumbai or Delhi, where you have fuel con­sump­tion which you did not

With Tier-II cities be­ing its core mar­ket, Sun­dar says al­ways been a niche player and will con­tinue to tar­get newer mar­kets. “Our fo­cus will con­tinue to be on con­nect­ing Tier-II cities through not go­ing to bang our heads for Mumbai and Delhi, we need metro cities only for strate­gic rea­sons. We have re­cently con­nected Shar­jah and The re­sponse from this route has been stronger than was pro­mo­tion,” says Sun­dar. Amid all un­cer­tain­ties, Sun­dar also spoke of the pos­si­bil­ity car­rier is look­ing for­ward to in­duct­ing new air­craft. Elab­o­rat­ing, he said, “I feel that we need the new 737 MAX air­craft. It opens up a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of ply for 65 per cent of out­bound we have 25 air­craft of which we have leased out 17 while the rest are owned by us. By 2020, we will own 17 air­craft and only eight will be let out on op­er­a­tional lease.” con­nects to 13 in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tions (Dubai, Shar­jah, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Ras Al Khaimah, Dam­mam, Riyadh, Kuwait, Mus­cat, Salalah, Doha, Bahrain, and Singapore) from 20 In­dian cities (Kan­nur, Kozhikode, Kochi, Thiru­vanan­tha­pu­ram, Bengaluru, Chen­nai, Madu­rai, Coim­bat­ore, Tiruchi­rap­palli, Man­galuru, Vi­jayawada, Mumbai, Pune, Am­rit­sar, Chandi­garh, Delhi, Luc­know, Varanasi, Jaipur, and Su­rat).

We need to up­date the cur­rent fleet with the new 737 MAX air­craft. It opens up a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of ply­ing long-haul flights, ac­count­ing for 65 per cent of out­bound traf­fic from In­dia

K Shyam Sun­dar CEO, Air In­dia Ex­press

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