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Air India cancels Sharjah-Kochi route, begins Dubai-Kochi service

Air India cancels Sharjah-Kochi route, begins Dubai-Kochi service

An Airbus A320 aircraft with 180 seats will be deployed on the new Dubai-Kochi route

Indian carrier Air India is cancelling its daily service between Sharjah and the city of Kochi in Kerala from January 11, 2016, it has confirmed.

The airline will instead operate daily flights to Kochi from Dubai, in response to increased demand on the route.

An A320 aircraft with a capacity of 180 seats will be deployed on the new route, said Air India’s regional manager of Gulf, Middle East and Africa Melwin D’Silva.

Flight AI 934 will depart from Dubai at 1330 hours and arrive in Kochi at 1910 hours. On the return journey, AI 933 will depart from Kochi at 0935 hours and arrive in Dubai at 1235 hours.

The state-owned carrier is also offering customers an introductory fare of Dhs 330 one-way and Dhs 785 return with 30kg baggage on the Dubai-Kochi route, D’Silva added.

Air India currently operates 74 flights per week to and from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

The airline, along with its low-cost subsidiary Air India Express, operates 300 flights per week from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to India.

Despite the huge Indian diaspora in the GCC, Air India has been struggling to compete with the big three Gulf airlines – Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways which have been expanding Indian services.

However, the Indian carrier has seen its overall operations improve in the last year thanks to lower fuel costs and improved aircraft efficiencies.

It is expected to report a profit – the first since its merger with Indian Airlines in 2007 – of close to $900,000 in the current fiscal year, according to Indian media reports.

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