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Air-India Express to fly to Abu Dhabi on April 29

Staff Reporter

Flights also from Nedumbassery and Karipur

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Air-India Express, the "low-cost airline" being set up under Air-India Charters, a fully-owned subsidiary of Air- India, will commence operations with the inaugural budget flight from the Thiruvananthapuram international airport to Abu Dhabi on April 29.

The inaugural flight of Air India Express to Abu Dhabi would depart from here at 8.40 a.m. The Governor, R. L. Bhatia, the Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy and the Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Praful Patel, would attend the inaugural ceremony. Functions would also be held at Dubai and Abu Dhabi to mark the launch of the low cost-airline.

Along with the inaugural flight to Abu Dhabi, Air-India Express would also operate flights from Nedumbassery, Karipur, Mumbai and Delhi airports to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and other destinations in the Gulf on April 29.

Announcing this at a press conference here on Friday, the Chairman and Managing Director of Air-India, V. Thulasidas, said the flights of Air-India Express would be operated using the Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which can accommodate 180 passengers.

In the first phase, Air-India Express would operate 43 flights to various destinations in the Gulf. Of these, 31 would be from three airports in Kerala. While there would be three flights a week from Thiruvananthapuram, there would be seven flights each from Nedumbassery and Karipur airports. The flights from the State to the Gulf would go up from the present 56 to 63 with the introduction of Air-India Express flights.

Disclosing that the one-way fares in Thiruvananthapuram-Dubai/Abu Dhabi sector would start from Rs. 3,250, he said the fares would not be fixed and would vary from day to day and from seat to seat. As the date of the departure approaches, the discount offered would come down. One third of the 180 seats would be available for the lowest fare.

Mr. Thulasidas said the passenger amenities would be different. "We would be providing certain frills. There would be no liquor or regular elaborate meals. But, vegetarian food would be served." Reservations can be made through Internet and travel agents.

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