"The development also assumes significance as Air India was not operating to many countries whose national or private airlines were operating to India."
By Rohit Vaid

New Delhi, May 18 - State-owned Air India is looking to operate new international routes like Moscow, Rome and Milan in the coming months on its newly-acquired fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to gain market share.

Our team is already in Moscow to take the mandatory approvals for the first flight between Delhi-Moscow. The approvals are expected shortly and services will start immediately afterwards, a senior Air India official told IANS here.

According to the airline official, though the service will be started with the 747s due to climatic conditions, it will soon be shifted to 787s as more of these aircraft are expected to join the fleet in the coming months.

Currently, Air India has 13 Dreamliners which are operated to domestic and international destinations. The airline expects its another 787 aircraft to arrive within this month.

The highly fuel-efficient aircraft which utilises advance technologies like composite materials, newly-developed engine and advance avionics has been used to open new routes to United Kingdom and Australia.

We are also planning to add other destinations in Europe and one in Africa, but that will depend on the speed with which we acquire the new fleet, the official said.

Other major destinations in the coming days include Milan and Rome. The route will be operated in June-July period. The airline also plans to re-open its Nairobi route.

The airline is planning to provide direct services to major destinations around the world, to counter new partnerships and acquisitions being formed between private Indian passenger carriers and international ones.

The official said that the airline can ramp up its profitability by scaling up its international operations rather than domestic ones, by tapping into the exponential increase in passenger traffic towards the US, Europe, China, Japan and other major destinations like Australia.

The airline's enthusiasm for starting new routes on Dreamliner can be gauged from the fact that the aircraft has been instrumental in replacing the fuel-guzzling Boeing 777 on some international routes.

Air India booked 27 Boeing 787s in 2006 in a mega-deal.

The development also assumes significance as Air India was not operating to many countries whose national or private airlines were operating to India.

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])


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