Mumbai: National carrier, Air India, will launch its own low-cost operation by extending the operations of its international low cost carrier, Air India Express, onto domestic routes. The decision will see the country's flag carrier opt for a business model already being practiced by the Kingfisher-Air Deccan and Jet Airways-Air Sahara combinations.
However, the operation will be launched only after the merger process of the State-run carriers is complete.
"We are already successfully running our budget service, Air India Express, internationally, and this Air India Express will now run a domestic service as well after Air India's merger with Indian," Air India chairman, V Thulasidas, slated to head the combined entity, has said in an interview.
So far, Air India Express has been running profitably, unlike the operations of budget airlines all over the world, which are barely making profits, or running losses. On an average, its fares are 25 per cent cheaper than normal ones.
Thulsidas also said that the national carrier might even consider operating a long-distance international budget service, if the operation should prove to be viable.
As for the merged entity's future moves, Thulasidas said that Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Indian, would be merged with Air India Express to provide the budget service. Alliance's fleet of 6-7 Boeing 737-200s would, however, be taken off from passenger service and would be converted into freighters for the national carrier's cargo service.
This service is due for launch by the end of the month.