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Wednesday, Mar 20, 2002

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More AI flights to South from Abu Dhabi

Vimala Vasan

ABU DHABI, March 19

AIR India will strengthen its operations from Abu Dhabi Emirate to south India this summer with the introduction of a once-weekly direct flight on the Al Ain-Kozhikode route and resumption of the once-weekly direct flight from Abu Dhabi to Chennai in April.

The Manager of AI for Abu Dhabi Emirate, Ms Kala Banga, told Business Line that the once weekly Al Ain-Kozhikode operation, to be launched on April 4, would make Al Ain the tenth online station for the airline in the Gulf region.

"The move to introduce the new route is based on surveys, which reveal a need for operations out of Al Ain to serve the Keralite expatriate community residing there. We are carrying passengers from Al Ain over Abu Dhabi now,'' she said.

The once-weekly Al Ain-Kozhikode flight will depart from Al Ain every Thursday morning. The flight will originate in Mumbai and arrive in Al Ain via Kuwait.

The flight offers connections in Mumbai for passengers from Kozhikode, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, New Delhi and Chennai and there is no requirement for change in airports.

Ms Banga said that passengers had a choice of landing in Abu Dhabi on their return journey. A special coach will be provided to transfer the passengers to Al Ain, she said.

AI is offering passengers on the Al Ain-Kozhikode route an introductory fare offer of Dh 875 (one way) and Dh 1,550 (return) (excluding taxes), with the choice of a return journey to Abu Dhabi. The offer is valid from April 4 till May 25.

Ms Banga said that Air India would also be re-introducing direct operations on the Abu Dhabi-Chennai route from April 6. The once-weekly non-stop flight will be operated every Saturday morning.

She said the direct operation to Chennai was in response to the growing demand from the Tamil expatriate community in Abu Dhabi.

The return journey would be on the Chennai-Kozhikode-Abu Dhabi route, she said. The frequency on this route may be increased in the peak summer months based on demand, she added.

Air India's frequency in the summer schedule, starting March 31, will go up to 21 flights a week out of Abu Dhabi emirate, following the addition of the new operations, she said.

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