By James Mathew
The Trichy-Abu Dhabi flights will have a frequency of four times a week
Air India Express, the sister airline of India’s national carrier Air India, is set to launch direct flights to Abu Dhabi from the south Indian city of Trichy (Tiruchirappalli) in Tamil Nadu.
The proposed direct connection to Abu Dhabi from Trichy is slated to be launched in the beginning of the summer schedule, starting from next month.
“As per plans, the Trichy-Abu Dhabi-Trichy flights will have a frequency of 4 times a week. This flight will also have connectivity to the nearby city of Madurai (in Tamil Nadu),” a senior executive of Air India Express told Arabian Business.
Trichy is also home to a large of expat Indians working in UAE and other parts in the Gulf region. Currently, Air India and Indian budget airline IndiGo operate direct flight services to Abu Dhabi from Trichy.
Air India Express already operates direct flights to Dubai from Trichy and the proposed direct services to Abu Dhabi is part of its plans to add connectivity to more destinations in the Middle East from this south Indian city, famous for the Rockfort temple and artificial diamonds.
The low cost Air India Express, which operates majority of its services to the Gulf sector, has also been given permission to acquire 3 new aircraft and is currently in the process of doing the groundwork for the proposed aircraft acquisition.
Significantly, Air India Express’ plans to expand its operations in the Gulf sector come amidst India government’s efforts to privatise the carrier and its parent airline Air India.
Indian government has already issued global invites for expression of interest (EoI) for Air India and the deadline for submission of initial bids is March 17 this year.
Air India Express, which made a profit of $95 million in the first half of FY20 – up by 283 percent from the corresponding period of last fiscal - is projected as the sweetener for the prospective buyers of Air India.
India’s business behemoth Tata Group is said to be among some of the prospective bidders for Air India. Tata Group already has two airline ventures – Vistara, a full service carrier in joint venture with Singapore Airlines, and Air Asia India, a low cost carrier in joint venture with Air Asia Berhad of Malaysia.