India’s state-owned Air India said its low-cost carrier will start operations on April 29, with an inaugural offering of Rs2,750 ($60) per ticket to people traveling from New Delhi to Abu Dhabi.
The offer is 50 per cent cheaper than existing fares.
The low-cost airline, Air India Express (AIE), will fly a total of 37 flights a week primarily to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Three each of these flights will operate from Mumbai and Delhi, 31 services will operate from Kerala.
A one-way ticket for Dubai from any of the three Kerala airports is offered for Rs4,150 rupees while the return ticket will cost Rs3,468. From Bombay and Delhi, the AIE offers e-tickets for Rs2,750 while the return ticket will cost as little as Rs2,394. The fare for Salalah from Calicut is Rs5,500.
Passengers within Kerala are also going to benefit. A Trivandrum-Cochin ticket costs only Rs500 rupees and tickets to Calicut and back are available at Rs750. Passenger can surf the Air-India Express website (www.airindiaexpress.in) and buy their tickets. They can print their receipts at home. Ticket sales got under way in India yesterday. Sales in the Gulf will open in three days, Air India officials said.
The new Boeing 737-800 has a red strip running across from the centre till the end of the fuselage with a trunk of a caparison elephant and a camel on the other side of the tail and Air India Express written in Hindi as well as English.
Air India will gradually withdraw its existing flights to Middle East countries in favour of AIE. The airline recently placed orders for 18 aircraft from Boeing for its low-cost operations.
Meanwhile, Indian carriers are offering low fares for travellers flying to popular destinations like Singapore and Dubai in a bid to win competition from budget airlines in East Asia. Air Sahara, a private airline that was allowed last month to fly on international routes, is offering a round trip from New Delhi to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur for Rs10,000. The current fare offered by other airlines is about Rs16,000. Sahara plans to launch its flights to Southeast Asian cities in May.