TOULOUSE: Airbus expects one or more of its Indian customers to convert orders for the 180-seater A320 planes into the bigger 200 plus-seater A321s, its vice-president strategy and marketing Kiran Rao, said on Thursday. “We are in discussions of moving up to the A321s,” Rao told ET on the sidelines of the Airbus Innovation Days 2015. He added “almost all” of Airbus’ Indian customers have the option to convert A320 orders to A321s and said that it will likely happen before 2020.
The orders will be for the A321 neos, the so-called New Engine Options which are the upgraded version of Airbus’ single aisle aircraft family. A move to A321 would be indicative of airlines’ plans to start more short-haul international operations, termed by industry experts as a significantly lucrative market.
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NEW DELHI: Air Pegasus, a regional carrier based out of Bengaluru, became the ninth carrier in the country after receiving a flying permit from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Tuesday.
Air Pegasus also becomes the third new airline to take to Indian skies in the past one year. While AirAsia India, Tata Sons’ low-cost venture with AirAsia Berhad, started services in June 2014, Vistara, Tata Sons’ joint venture company with Singapore Airlines, launched operations in January this year.
“We have received an Air Operators Permit from the DGCA, and plan to launch our ticketing system soon and launch operations in two weeks. We already have two ATR-72 aircraft in our fleet that is sufficient to operate the three sectors we plan to start flights with,” Shyson Thomas, managing direc tor of Air Pegasus, told ET.
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Air India Express, the national carrier’s low-cost unit, may swing to it’s first net profit this fiscal year, on cost savings, better market conditions and reworked contracts, its chief executive K Shyam Sundar said on Wednesday. The airline started operations in 2004.
“We are likely to post a net profit of about Rs 100 crore on revenue of Rs 2,600 crore,” Shyam Sundar said at an event in Mumbai. He said the airline had posted a loss of over Rs 200 crore last year. He didn’t mention last fiscal’s revenues.
AI Express is headquartered in Kochi and flies primarily to gulf destinations, largely cashing in on the labour traffic flying those routes. It has nine domestic destinations in its network.
Invoking the Prime Minister’s vision of taking India’s story of heritage and culture through tourism globally, Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Tourism and Culture and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India, said “It cannot be a one-way traffic when we talk of increasing tourism to India. It has to be a win-win situation for all of us.” He was speaking at the ‘Interaction Between Tourism and Airlines’ – a first-of-its-kind initiative by the Union Ministries of Civil Aviation and Tourism, and Federation of Associations of Indian Travel and Hospitality (FAITH), organised last week at Le Méridien New Delhi.
The high-powered meeting was attended by about 50 top national and international carriers and stakeholders from the industry, Secretaries of the two ministries, Additional Secretary, Additional Director General, Joint Secretary from Tourism, and other top officials from the two ministries.
The meeting was aimed at bringing tourism and aviation sectors closer and devising a ‘draft of working’ where both industries work together for the growth of Indian aviation and tourism, create opportunities for India tourism for stakeholders, and unleash the sector’s potential for the socio-economic development of the country.