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Air India connecting India for ‘us’

Shri Ashwani Lohani a tourism veteran known for his influential strategies and pro-active attitude was chaired as the CMD of India’s one of the most prime airlines Air India when it has just begun its journey towards improved financials. Under his leadership, the airline after a span of seven years has made an operational profit of `8 crore. The sky is wide and thus the opportunities are touching high horizons with an aim to touch the higher soar, Shri Lohani shares exclusively with TTJ, their new initiatives, plans and much more.

‘Maharaja’ the image might have changed over the years, but it represents the same as it use to ‘Air India’. Over the years, the airline has been focused in connecting India to the other part of the world. But in the recent times, the airline has been keenly focused in building regional connectivity and with the new civil aviation policy in place; the airline is all set to its commitment to strengthening regional connectivity.
The enjoyment of turnover is a driving factor for me. Initially there were many problems, you need to find loopholes and work on it. Negativity is the first thing which one notices in an organisation, it entirely depends upon how you tackle them, either you too become negative or stay positive. I will share with you the highlights of what is on and what we are planning to do further for making travel more convenient and cost-effective.

Schemes
The eSuper Saver scheme offers frequent traveller handsome savings. The scheme is available on all domestic sectors, in Executive and Economy Class and on select sectors in the Northeast. The scheme is open for single-users only and fares depend upon the distance, class of travel and the number of coupons. Executive passengers get an enhanced baggage allowance of 35 kg.

Air India has launched several schemes one of them is ‘My Dream Destination’ which directly incentivizes passengers and the other scheme ‘Get Upfront’ helps in class upgradation from Business and First. Under the Executive Class Bonanza, Lady Executive offers a 25 per cent discount on basic fare for lady executives travelling in business class and the other Maharaja Experience let any passenger travelling four times in economy class in a week will be eligible for one upgrade. The Jhat Pat Mazza a short term promotion under which on-board luxury draw for passengers takes places and around 43 tickets a week is given.

In an endeavour to cover and connect all the major cities of Buddhist interest in India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, Air India has launched a Buddhist Trail Air Pass. This is a coupon based scheme for journeys originating ex Yangon and Colombo. Option to combine Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India in a single journey is available. There is no eligibility criterion and the effective date is March 7, 2016.

For students a special program was launched named as AI Maharaja Scholars’ Offer 2016 which allows free additional baggage, free one additional piece to YYZ valid on AI-AC codeshare over London only for travel from December 2015 till January 2016. Free one additional piece to the USA (max weight 23kgs) valid up to New York/Chicago and interior points via New York/Chicago only. The free one additional piece is allowed on routes to Osaka/Tokyo, Frankfurt/Paris/Rome/Milan/Vienna, Europe interior points via Frankfurt/Paris/Rome/Milan/Vienna, Singapore/Bangkok/HongKong/Shanghai/ Seoul, Sydney/Melbourne, Moscow.

Air India’s Discover India scheme was launched on the World Tourism Day. Air India has always been at the forefront of tourism in India and with the ‘Discover India‘ scheme one can choose from exciting Indian destinations serviced by the airline and alliance air to weave into a whirlwind itinerary. This is indeed a great opportunity for savings without worrying about ticket price fluctuation. This is designed for Indians residing overseas, Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and foreign nationals to experience India. It has two variants-one for 15 days and other with 30 days of validity, from the commencement of the first leg of the journey.

Book Early, Save with D-90 Fares helps to get super economic fares, on select domestic sectors. The D-90 fares, for Economy Class travel almost match Railways AC-2T fares. For instance, the one way, all inclusive D-90 fare between Delhi and Kolkata is `2,770. These fares are inclusive of basic fare, airline fuel surcharge and taxes/levies and tickets can be purchased up to 90 days prior to the date of travel.

Initiatives
Fulfilling our commitment to connect India we have recently started many flights connecting one city with the other. Apart from that we have also restored direct connections between Nagpur-Delhi and Raipur-Delhi. Apart from this, many more domestic connections are in the offing. In collaboration with IRCTC, we are also working to provide air tickets without any extra charge to passengers whose train tickets do not get confirmed on Rajdhani Express at the last minute. This unique partnership with the railways will go a long way in mitigating the suffering of the travelling public, who fails to get confirmed seats on trains. We also plan to offer special fares to students travelling to join educational institutions in July.

Blurb
Air India has always been at the forefront of tourism in India and with the ‘Discover India‘ scheme one can choose from exciting Indian destinations serviced by the airline and alliance air to weave into a whirlwind itinerary. This is indeed a great opportunity for savings without worrying about ticket price fluctuation.

Box Matter
Additional Capacity/Frequency increased by Air India (effective) October, 2015 till Apr’16

Domestic
• Delhi-Surat-Delhi (evening flight) wef October 1, 2015
• Mumbai-Diu-Mumbai wef October 25, 2015
• Hyderabad-Vijayawada-Vizag & v.v wef 2nd November, 2015
• Varanasi-Bhubaneswar & v.v. wef November 8, 2015
• Daily flight on Mumbai-Calicut-Mumbai wef November 1, 2015
• Mumbai-Surat-Mumbai wef December 25, 2015
• Mumbai-Gwalior wef December 25, 2015
• Delhi-Gorakhpur-Delhi wef January 15, 2016
• Bengaluru-Trivandrum-Bengaluru wef March 27, 2016
• 2nd daily flight on Mumbai-Bhopal-Mumbai route wef March 27, 2016
• 3rd daily flight on Delhi-Pune-Delhi route wef March 27, 2016
• Bangalore-Vijayawada-Bangalore wef April 1, 2016
• Kolkata-Agartala-Kolkata wef wef April 1, 2016
• Delhi-Jammu-Delhi wef April 7, 2016 (Morning additional flights)
• 2nd daily flight on Delhi-Vijayawada-Delhi (evening) proposed wef May 1, 2016
• Delhi-Bhopal-Delhi daily flight wef May 23, 2016
• Bhopal-Jabalpur-Hyderabad & v.v. wef May 23, 2016
• Bhopal-Raipur-Pune & v.v. wef May 23, 2016

Proposed Flights
• Kolkata-Raipur-Indore-Ahmedabad-Jaipur-Delhi & back
• Cochin- -Cochin
• Bangalore-Hubli-Bangalore

International
• 3rd daily flight on Delhi-London-Delhi route in the year wef November 1, 2015
• Bengaluru-Delhi-San Francisco & v.v. wef December 1, 2015
• Ahmedabad-Mumbai-London & v.v. wef December 15, 2015
• Delhi-Vienna-Delhi wef April 6, 2016