New Delhi: In its bid to convert the financial deficits into profit, Air India is planning to launch flights to small cities which are significant from religious and tourism point of view.

Under the ambitious move, Air India intends to start Alliance Air flights to cities like Bhagalpur in Bihar, Deoghar in Jharkhand, and Agra and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh.

According to a senior Air India official, “About 42 smaller cities having a population of more than one million, want air connectivity with metro cities. These cities have great significance from religious and tourism angle. National and international tourists are keen to visit these cities."

Although some airlines’ flights to cities like Agra and Gorakhpur are available, their numbers are extremely limited.  And, despite the availability of runway at the Bhagalpur and Deoghar there is no regular flight to both these cities. To visit Bhagalpur, one has to take a flight to Patna which has the nearest airport to the city.

Before starting flights for Bhagalpur, Air India officials will have to check whether appropriate infrastructure is available or not. In addition to this, the number of employees and aircraft fleet in Alliance Air has to be increased. Under the project, Air India may include 48 small aircraft and 72-seater ATR aircraft.

Air India has been planning various schemes to reduce cost and improve its financial condition. To reduce the financial deficits, the Airlines even deducted the salaries given to employees. However, the move back fired, as employees frequently went on strike. 
Finally, the airlines decided to increase its operations rather than following the cost reducing measures.

The main reason behind the financial losses incurred by the airlines is believed to be shutting down of operations to profitable routes where private airlines are generating huge profits.

The airlines has therefore, decided to start operations to those non-metro cities where private airlines have yet to begin or have less flights.

The airlines have targeted rapidly growing states like Bihar and Jharkhand as they have great importance from religious and tourism perspective.