Air India Express commenced its services from Doha to Kannur in the state of Kerala, India, on December 10. Flight IX 774 departed Doha with 187 passengers on board, the airline said in a statement.
To mark the occasion, Air India Express held a brief ceremony at the Hamad International Airport (HIA) passenger check-in area. Indian ambassador to Qatar P Kumaran graced the occasion by cutting the ribbon, which was followed by a cake-cutting ceremony.
The envoy also handed over the boarding card to the first checked-in passenger, Abdulla, and a small gift. He wished the flight success, helping meet the aspirations of the large community and expatriates from the region, the statement noted.
Air India country manager Veena Negi said Air India/Air India Express was pleased to commence the new Kannur-Doha-Kannur service, which will have a weekly frequency of four flights - on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday - at "convenient timings" .
Flight IX 773 leaves Kannur at 8.20pm and arrives in Doha at 10pm, and IX 774 departs Doha at 11pm and arrives in Kannur at 5.45am the next day.
Negi said there has been an "encouraging response from the community" as both the inaugural flights from Kannur and Doha were fully booked. She thanked the community and stressed that Air India Express was "committed to serve passengers with good service and on-time performance".
The airline also distributed the traditional Kannur ladoo to all boarding passengers as a goodwill gesture and with best wishes for the inaugural flight.
Jan Metsovitis, V-P of Operations at HIA, and his team; J Kovacs, V-P at Qatar Aviation Services; and Nasser Darwish, V-P and director at Darwish Travel Bureau, general sales agent for Air India/Air India Express at Doha, and his sales team were also present at the function.
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