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Air India to up fleet utilisation; add frequencies to Melbourne, US routes

Aneesh Phadnis/New Delhi 12 Feb 19 | 09:49 PM

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Air India will increase its fleet utilisation and add frequencies to its existing Melbourne and US routes, the airline’s Finance Director, Vinod Hejmadi, said on Tuesday.

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The national carrier is mired in debt and huge losses that have led to payment delays and grounding of around 15 planes due to a shortage of spares.

Hejmadi said a proposal to hive off around Rs 29,000 crore debt to a special purpose vehicle was expected to be complete by March 31 and the airline expected to induct 15 of its grounded planes into service in the next three months following a funds infusion. 

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These measures would help the airline cut down on its interest cost, improve fleet utilisation and add new flights. Its interest bill is around Rs 4,500 crore each year.

While Air India is facing challenges in domestic market — its market share is under 13 per cent — the airline is focusing on international markets for growth.  

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