Air India-Indian Airlines merger will benefit passengers: Bhargava

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Dubai, Oct 10 (UNI) India is one of the biggest markets in the world and Air India and Indian Airline's merger will benefit flyers not only in terms of cost but will also lead to an improved network, services and schedule, an Air India official said here. ''The merger of top management is almost over. The merger at other levels is expected soon. Passengers will benefit from this as the merger will open more options to them with regard to schedules. It will also expand the frequency,'' the Khaleej Times yesterday quoted Air India's executive director of Corporate Communication, Jitender Bhargava, as saying.

Air India had ordered altogether 111 new aircraft to expand it fleet, out of which 16 had already been delivered and the rest were expected by 2011, Mr Bhargava mentioned.

Asserting that flight delays were common among all the airlines, Mr Bhargava assured that with Air India-Indian Airlines merger the passengers would not have to face such problems in the future as the frequency of flights would be higher.

''We have plans to start our own networks for ground handling, engineering and related areas to offer services to other carriers operating in India. The civil aviation industry in India is growing day by day and we have solid plans to meet future demands,'' he added.

In the past, Air India had introduced new destinations. With the merger, more destinations would be added and that too with higher frequencies, he said, adding that ''We recently launched a direct flight from Nagpur to Dubai. Dubai-Jaipur service will start on October 28. We have plans to start Dubai-Goa direct flight soon''.

''The civil aviation industry in India has gone through revolutionary changes in the past five years. The merger will help the national carrier to meet the new challenges that the market demands. Our policies will be focused on customer satisfaction,'' he said.

UNI

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