An Air India airplane as it takes off from San Francisco International Airport on its maiden flight back to New Delhi. (Amar D. Gupta | Siliconeer)
Air India and IRCTC have already entered into a pact for the proposed arrangement that is expected to be in place “within a week,” the carrier’s chief Ashwani Lohani told PTI, May 25. (@Siliconeer, #Siliconeer, #AirIndia, @AirIndia, #IndianRailways, #namo, #incredibleindia)
Under the proposed arrangement, people who have unconfirmed tickets across classes on Rajdhani trains would have the choice 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.
Lohani, an ex-Indian Railways Service office and current Air India chairman and managing director, 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 (around $35) per ticket as additional amount for flying Air India, Lohani 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 plans to operate more number of smaller aircraft in various states as they look to increase regional air connectivity.
Air India’s subsidiary Air Alliance plans to increase the number of ATRs in its fleet to 35 in the next four years.
Currently, Alliance Air has seven ATRs in its fleet, including two ATR-42 that are to be phased out this fiscal year. It expects to have at least 18 ATR-72 planes by March 2017.
Lohani, along with senior officials, held deliberations, May 25, with representatives from at least 16 states, most of who 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 after the meeting.