Sharing plans for 2018, K. Shyam Sundar, CEO, Air India Express, said that the focus for the LCC will be Kannur, located about 90 kms north of Calicut, which is slated to get a brand new international airport this year. Sundar says, “The focus market for us for 2018-19 will be Kannur. We expect the new airport to be functional by June 2018. We have requested the Kerala Government to allow us to be the first carrier to operate international flights from the new airport. In fact, the two aircraft we are going to induct is probably going to be based or largely operated to and from Kannur. We intend to connect Kannur to about four to five destinations in the Gulf.”
Kannur is an extremely important market for AIE. The new airport is a PPP project and will be larger than the one in Calicut in terms of runway length. It will be a table-top airport. Currently, passengers from Kannur have to travel to Calicut to take flights. Sundar also revealed that AIE will make its four-month old non-stop Madurai-Singapore flight to a daily in the summer schedule. It will also add some new routes in the summer which will be a direct link between Kochi, Kuwait and Bahrain.
Air India Express currently flies to 15 international destinations: Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Ras Al Khaimah, Bahrain, Dammam, Doha, Kuwait, Muscat, Salalah, Singapore, KualaLumpur, Riyadh & Dhaka from 15 Indian cities – Kozhikode, Kochi, Thiruvananthpuram, Mangalore, Chennai, Tiruchirapally, Mumbai, Pune, Amritsar, Lucknow, Jaipur, Varanasi, New Delhi, Kolkata and Chandigarh. On the domestic front, it operates flights between Chennai-Thiruvananthpuram-Chennai, Kozhikode-Thiruvananthpuram-Kozhikode, Kochi-Thiruvananthpuram-Kochi and Kochi-Kozhikode.