Air India today announced the introduction of a direct flight from Amritsar to Bangkok from May 14, as part of its efforts to increase and augment services on key routes. Days after announcing increasing the frequency of flights from Delhi to Copenhagen and San Francisco, the airline today said the flight from Amritsar to Bangkok would operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. However, the service will remain in effect till May 30 and a decision on its extension will be taken based on the response it gets, an Air India spokesperson said. “Flight AI 336 will leave Bangkok at 1300 hrs and arrive in Amritsar at 2005 hrs.
In return flight AI 337 will leave from Amritsar at 0545 hrs and arrive in Bangkok at 1000hrs,” the airline said in a statement. The announcement comes a week after the disinvestment-bound national carrier announced increasing the frequency of services to Denmark’s capital Copenhagen from Delhi to four days a week from May 11 and increasing flight frequency to Vienna too.
The frequency of the Delhi to San Francisco flight has also been increased to nine times a week from six days a week. The airline hopes to earn not less than Rs 90 crore a month from the Delhi-San Francisco route, considered one of the most profitable route for the airline. Sources, however, said that though more services were in the offing, the airline has decided to go slow as the disinvestment process has kicked in.
Plans were afoot to start direct flights from Mumbai to Frankfurt and London, while the airline was also at an advance stage of finalising new services to the African continent, given the increased economic activity between India and the African nations. “But with some key posts lying vacant and with the disinvestment process on, any further decision to start new operations has been put on hold,” the sources said.
The government had on March 28, floated a preliminary information memorandum inviting bidders to buy 76 per cent stake in Air India along with transfer of management control. As per the bid document, bidders would be required to have a minimum net worth of Rs 5,000 crore and should have posted profit after tax in three of the previous five financial years from the Expression of Interest (EoI) deadline. The last date for submission of the bids is May 14.