Air India Express, which is in the process of merging AIX Connect with itself, plans to induct 50 new B737 MAX planes in the next 15 months as the Tata Group bolsters its aviation business.
Besides, the combined entity of Air India Express, also the country’s first international budget carrier, and AIX Connect, formerly known as AirAsia India, will be launching its new brand on October 18.
In a message to staff this week, Air India Express and AIX Connect Managing Director Aloke Singh said key milestones, including migration to a common reservations and check-in system, have been achieved in terms of integration of the two carriers.
Currently, the combined entity has a fleet of 56 aircraft, including 26 B737, 2 B737 MAX, 5 A320 neo and 23 A320.
“Over the next 15 months, a total of 50 new B737 MAX aircraft will join the LCC fleet, allowing us to grow our network to new destinations and increase flights on existing routes,” Singh said in the message.
According to him, the focus is now on the preparedness for deploying this capacity and that already, more than 800 aircrew and other operational personnel who have joined the entity are under various stages of training.
Together, the combined entity operates around 2,700 flights every week. Out of them, about 700 are operated by Air India Express and the rest by AIX Connect. They fly to 44 destinations, including 14 international ones.
The combined entity will be the Low Cost Carrier (LCC) of the Tata Group that took over the reins of Air India and Air India Express in January last year.
“On the integration front, key milestones have been achieved; these include migration to a common reservations and check-in system, a common website and agent portal, aligned product and service offerings, and above all, use of a common brand and domain,” Singh said in the message.
Meanwhile, Tata Group is in the process of consolidating its airline business. Apart from Air India Express-AIX Connect integration, Air India is merging Vistara with itself. Vistara is a joint venture between Tatas and Singapore Airlines, in which the former holds a 51 per cent stake.
India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world and air traffic is also on the rise.