AI happy to see more Indian carriers worldwide: Thulsidas

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Mumbai, Jan 10 (UNI) Air India Chief Managing Director V Thulsidas today said that with private airlines like Jet operating on the international routes, the flag carrier will be happy to see more and more carriers from India in the international spectrum.

Talking to reporters here, against the backdrop of Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel's statement that Kingfisher airlines can fly abroad, Mr Thulsidas said Jet Airways had already begun its operations overseas and added that many international airlines were in the market and now, there would three from India, after Kingfisher joins the same.

''There should be more and more Indian carriers in the international aviation industry also,'' the CMD of oldest Indian carrier said.

He expressed satisfaction that Air India Express (AIE), the low cost arm of Air India, was running in profit.

Mr Thulsidas said the AIE has 17 aircraft and it will add eight more to the fleet soon, which will take the strength to 25.

He further said some of non-business class flights could be diverted to AIE.

When asked, Mr Thulsidas said Air India will add 110 aircraft by 2011 and added that currently the airline was not facing the shortage of first officer pilots or the enginners.

''We are facing the shortage of commanders, who are required to have a particular flying hours and this problem could be solved,'' he informed.

He said the airports in New Delhi and Mumbai will be upgraded and US Exim Bank was ready to fund the project of upgrading the aviation sector.

Asked about the cargo operations, he said while Air India will induct several cargo planes, it will also convert several passenger planes into cargo.

UNI JM SSS MP AS2304

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