Taking cue from SpiceJets success in tier-II and III markets, Air India wants to expand its presence on regional routes. The state-run carrier will shortly invite bids to replace its fleet of 11 ATR-42s and Bombardier CRJ planes with newer fuel-efficient turbo prop planes to improve its operating result. These planes will be operated by Alliance Air, the airlines regional subsidiary.
We want to spread wings into regional markets and connect places of tourist importance such as Agra and Varanasi. These routes can generate loads of 80 per cent. It will help in improve our revenue and yields. Airlines are dumping capacity on metros and fares on the routes are market-driven. We will be able to charge higher fares on regional routes, said a senior Air India executive, requesting anonymity.
"The lease of existing planes is expiring in September and we will be taking the planes on operating lease. We are considering ATR-72s, BombardierQ400s and CRJs for fleet replacement. Next year, we plan to expand our regional fleet to 15 planes,'' the executive added.