Friday, May 27, 2016

Flying easy: Rajdhani wait-listed passengers to be upgraded to Air India flight from June

COME June and national carrier Air India will bail out wait-listed passengers of Rajdhani trains. Sounds odd? Yes, such travellers will be provided with the option of taking an Air India flight to their destination. They will need to pay marginally extra. Air India and IRCTC have already entered into a pact for the proposed arrangement which is...
expected to be in place "within a week", the carrier's chief Ashwani Lohani told news agency PTI.
This is seen yet another move by beleaguered Maharaja to keep flying high in the backdrop of mounting losses. Under the proposed arrangement, people who have unconfirmed tickets across classes on Rajdhani trains would have the option of boarding an Air India flight, provided the airline has services in the particular train route chosen by the passenger.
Air India tickets would be offered to such passengers through IRCTC.
The Air India CMD said details are being worked out and the arrangement is expected to be in place "within a week".
The wait-listed passengers of AC First Class of Rajdhani trains would not have to pay any additional amount in case they decide to take an Air India flight. In the case of those booked on Rajdhani Second and Third AC classes, the passengers would have to pay up to Rs. 2,000 per ticket as additional amount for flying Air India, Lohani said.
"The details are being worked out and we hope to have this in place within a week," Lohani, who himself is an Indian Railways Service (IRS) officer, said.
The latest move is expected to help Air India in filling up more seats on its planes amid the carrier working on ways to turnaround its fortunes.
Meanwhile, Air India is chalking out ambitious expansion plan to operate more number of smaller aircraft in various states as they look to increase regional air connectivity.
In this regard, Air India's wholly-owned subsidiary Air Alliance plans to increase the number of ATRs in its fleet to 35 in the next four years.
Alliance Air has seven ATRs in its fleet, including two ATR-42 that are to be phased this fiscal. It expects to have at least 18 ATR-72 planes by March 2017.
Lohani along with senior officials on May 26 held discussions with representatives from at least 16 states. They also expressed willingness to provide viability gap funding to the carrier.
"Several state governments have asked Air India to look at launching virgin routes connecting different cities in their respective states," Lohani said.

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