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AI to increase service on Dubai-Bangalore route

Vimala Vasan

ABU DHABI, Sept. 19

AIR INDIA, which recorded a seven per cent growth in traffic on the Gulf-India sector in the peak summer season this year over the same period in 2001, plans to launch a second regular frequency on the Dubai-Bangalore route in late October.

This is among several changes planned for the forthcoming winter schedule, according to a senior airline official.

Capt P.P. Singh, Regional Director, Air India, Gulf and West Asia, told Business Line that the airline plans to launch a second weekly flight on the Dubai-Bangalore route from the winter schedule starting on October 25.

The twice-weekly frequency will then operate out of Dubai on Tuesdays and Sundays and from Bangalore on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

With the planned arrival of three leased aircraft from November onwards, Air India is also planning to introduce a third weekly flight to Bangalore from Dubai in January-February, he said.

The thrice-weekly frequency would then be a regular feature on the airline's operations from the UAE to South India.

Capt. Singh expressed satisfaction at the airline's performance in the peak summer season starting from April-May.

Air India recorded good load factors, he said, adding that a seven per cent growth in traffic had been registered over the same period the previous year.

The airline operated eleven extra sections to bring back passengers from India in late August-early September, at the end of the holiday season.

The airline is planning some other changes in its frequencies to the Gulf during the forthcoming winter

schedule, he said.

The current once weekly flight from Abu Dhabi to Chennai on Saturdays will be operated directly to Kozhikode on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai-Kozhikode route. The Abu Dhabi-Chennai flight will be shifted to operate on Sundays. This will increase the flights to Kozhikode from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to five frequencies a week respectively.

Plans are also on to introduce a 747 aircraft on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi-Thiruvananthapuram route to be operated on Thursdays.

"We are currently using an A310 aircraft, but since the demand is high on Thursdays, we plan to operate a bigger aircraft on that day," Capt. Singh said.

Air India also plans to introduce for the first time return flights from Kozhikode and Kochi, to Al Ain in Abu Dhabi emirate, as well as to Doha (Qatar) and Kuwait, by January-February, once it has additional aircraft at its disposal.

A return frequency will also be operated on the Kozhikode-Dammam (Saudi Arabia) route.

Onward flights to Kozhikode and Kochi from Al Ain, Doha and Kuwait were introduced earlier this year and the response had been very good with excellent load factors recorded, the official added.

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