New Delhi, Aug. 21: Air India will start flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Australia from August 29.
The move is part of the national carrier’s plan to expand its global footprint.
“We had in our financial turnaround plan made a decision to use the Dreamliner for long-haul, non-stop flights. The Melbourne, Sydney circuit has a lot of traffic and is profitable. So, we will be starting flights on this route from August 29,” a senior Air India official said.
At present, the state-run airline has six B787s and expects eight more by the end of this year. Air India plans to fly the planes to more destinations in Europe, Africa and Latin America. At present, the airline flies to 33 international destinations and will add 12-14 routes by the first half of the next year. “Moscow, Rome and some destinations in Africa will be added by the end of this year itself,” the official said.
According to airline sources, the planes have increased the profitability of all the routes they are operating on by as much as Rs 4-5 lakh per flight. “Thanks to its 25 per cent fuel efficiency. Besides, we taking utmost care in flying these aircraft and have started making profits on the route,” the official added.
Air India had resumed Dreamliner flights in May 22. The aircraft was grounded in January following a battery glitch, which eventually led the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to order a temporary halt of all Dreamliner flights
Air India has suffered operational losses of around Rs 300 crore since the grounding of the jets.
In the last one year, Air India has managed to cut down on its losses and regain its market share. Official data show that even till last year almost 70 per cent of the airline’s total flight capacity was suffering losses. “Out of almost 480 flights, more than 300 were making losses,” a senior Air India official said.
Chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan had said the airline would try to reduce such flights to just 15 per cent of its total capacity in this fiscal. The carrier’s total revenue is expected to jump 20 per cent to Rs 19, 393 crore from Rs 16,130 crore last fiscal.
The national carrier’s total revenues improved almost 10 per cent to Rs 16,130 crore in 2012-13 from Rs 14,714 crore a year ago.
Net loss came down by Rs 2,261 crore, while its EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) improved by Rs 2,256 crore in 2012-13.