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Air India plans to revive Vayudoot
Published on 31 Oct. 2010 12:43 AM IST
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National Aviation Company of India Ltd (Nacil), which owns Air India, is planning to revive the defunct Vayudoot airline to improve connectivity to small towns and cities. It had earlier planned to sell the brand.
Delhi-based Vayudoot was launched as a subsidiary of erstwhile Indian Airlines in January 1981 to serve the northeast region. Vayudoot grew to operating in 100 stations across the country, stated Business Standard.
“It operated out of 10 destinations in Bihar alone and still has great brand value,” said a senior official in the ministry of civil aviation.
However, due to deep financial crises, Vayudoot was merged with Indian Airlines. It ceased operations in 1997 and the airline’s employees were absorbed by Indian Airlines or Air India.
In its new avatar, Vayudoot will be a feeder service bringing traffic from small towns to larger cities and state capitals and from there to other national and international destinations.
“Vayudoot has a brand value, and we will not have to invest anything on the brand. The plan is to increase the network and provide deep connectivity and feed small cities, which may provide many options to passengers using Air India’s hub in Delhi,” said a senior ministry official, who did not wish to be identified.
New Avatar
? Launched as subsidiary of erstwhile Indian Airlines in January 1981
? Merged with IA due to financial crisis, operations stopped in 1997
? Now plans to bring traffic from smaller towns to the bigger cities
? To connect small towns to destinations abroad or other locations
?To operate four types of planes depending on demand, may lease aircraft
“This also makes sense, as Air India is becoming a Star Alliance member and will get passengers from the Star Alliance network,” the official added.
As part of the plan, Vayudoot will operate from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and the northeast region, which have over 50 small airstrips or airports, mostly not in use. “Small cities have a lot of potential, provided they are offered connectivity. Also, there are many tourist and pilgrimage destinations that are untapped,” said the official.
The official added that the plan is to operate four types of aircraft depending on demand: 15-20 seat, 50-seat, 120-180 seat and 300-seat aircraft. Plans are being made to lease these aircraft and also to ascertain the cost of reviving the airline.
Nacil is already planning to launch its low-cost domestic operations from next April by enhancing the utilisation of the Air Indian Express fleet. That low-cost carrier has 21 aircraft and operates international routes.

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