Air India Express, From Low-Cost Carrier to Revamped Regional Powerhouse

Air India Express, From Low-Cost Carrier to Revamped Regional Powerhouse


A fully-owned subsidiary of Air India, Air India Express is a low-cost airline based in India. With its main office in Gurgaon, the airline offers more than 2000 weekly flights to 45 locations in India, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Kochi serves as its main center, and it also has satellite hubs in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru, among other important Indian cities.



Air India Express, the low-cost arm of Air India, was established on April 29, 2005, with the goal of providing Indian expatriates with access to short-haul international flights. It launched point-to-point operations from many Indian hubs in an attempt to take advantage of the expanding low-cost airline industry. With increasing income over time, Air India Express was able to maintain profitability as its parent company faltered.


Tata Sons paid $2.5 billion in 2021 to purchase Air India and its low-cost subsidiary Air India Express. Tata started to combine its airlines in 2023, combining AirAsia India (now known as AIX Connect) with Air India Express after obtaining a majority interest. The merger was approved, and the crew and aircraft of AIX Connect were moved. Air India awarded Air India Express the order for 190 Boeing 737 Max aircraft at the Paris Air Show, with delivery beginning in October 2023. As a result of Tata's restructuring, the redesigned Air India Express plans to have 170 aircraft within five years.

Rebranding and Merger

In order to prevent overlap, Air India took over significant commercial routes after the Tata takeover, while Air India Express concentrated on non-trunk routes. Air India's long-haul network is connected to smaller cities by a coordinated feed between the two carriers and Express. With an eye toward appealing to India's frugal traveler demographic, Tata redesigned its livery and emblem in October 2023. Following the name change, the inaugural Air India Express flight was IX 5101. Aiming for over 20% of total revenue from ancillaries in the upcoming years, the airline wants to grow ancillary services like hand-baggage charges and hot meals in order to diversify revenue.


Air India Express began with flights from regional Indian cities to Southeast Asia and the Persian Gulf. It now flies to 44 destinations and will expand domestically after a merger.

Accidents and incidents

There have been multiple incidents involving Air India Express. A deadly collision in Mangalore in 2010 claimed 158 lives. Twenty-one people lost their lives in a runway overrun accident that happened at Calicut in 2020.



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