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Air India to launch `budget flights'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MAY 30. Air India has decided to launch `budget flights' that would offer from next summer schedule `low fares' to passengers from Thiruvananthapuram, Nedumabassery, Karipur and five other major airports in the country to various destinations in West Asia and Southeast Asia.

A `new airline' will be set up under Air India Charters, which is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Air India, for operating the `budget' flights, a top Air India official told The Hindu . The path-breaking decision to launch the `no-frills' airlines was taken at an Air India Director Board meeting in Mumbai recently. A formal announcement is expected to be made by the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Praful Patel, on Monday.

Apart from the three airports in Kerala, the `budget' flights will be operated from the Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Guwahati airports. The proposed flights will be operated using the latest Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Air India would take 14 aircraft on dry lease in three stages to commence operations from next summer.

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