Alliance Air, the fully-owned subsidiary of Air India, which operates the regional network for Air India using turboprop aircraft, has just gone international. The airline, which is used to operate in the shadows of Air India, just recently got the approval to fly internationally, and they just flew their maiden international flight, launching Chennai – Jaffna flights on October 17, 2019, coinciding with Jaffna Airport opening up for international flights.
The inaugural flight which landed at #Jaffna International Airport is the first International flight for Alliance Air, Air India’s sister-carrier. CMD, Air India, Mr. Ashwani Lohani & CEO, Alliance Air, Mr. C.S. Subbiah travelled on board the Inaugural Flight. @airindiain #India pic.twitter.com/0uPFMCGBxP
— India in Sri Lanka (@IndiainSL) October 17, 2019
Given that Jaffna is on the northern tip of Sri Lanka, at the moment, those who wanted to travel to/fro Jaffna to Chennai had to first travel 3-4 hours to Colombo Airport before taking a flight back in the same direction from where they came from. The flying time between the two airports is less than an hour. The Jaffna Airport opening up for international traffic after decades helped restore this link between the two cities.
The commercial launch of these 3 times a week flights between Chennai and Jaffna will be on November 1, 2019, and today’s flight was more a test flight, but the chairman of Air India flew on this flight along with the CEO of Alliance Air.
The Sri Lankan government has also given sixth freedom rights to Alliance Air, which means that Alliance Air will be able to use this flight to bring connecting traffic for Air India’s international flights as well. The airstrip was extended to be able to accommodate ATR operations and will be further extended to be able to bring in the A320/B737 single-aisle aircraft at some point in time. Flights between Trichy and Jaffna are also being planned.
This is a very interesting move because using turboprops could perhaps also mean at some point in time Alliance Air might want to do the Male segments also.
What do you make of the maiden international flight for Alliance Air? Just a political move or will it really help things?