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NEW MENU IN AIR INDIA FLIGHTS

A variety of wines, mocktails for teetotallers and regional cuisine -- this is Air India's recipe for wooing business and first class passengers on international flights, according to its spokesperson. The proposal comes after the ministry of civil aviation instructed personnel from Air India's catering division to "spend more to fill the aircraft" during a meeting last month, said an official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "We will first implement this plan for business and first class passengers on our international flights. Later on, we plan to introduce mocktails and regional cuisine on domestic flights. If this is successful we intend to expand this to economy class as well," said Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar. The new menu is likely to be implemented for the winter schedule, which kicks in from October end. According to the blueprint prepared last week, the airline also plans to introduce new and better cutlery for its premium passengers. Also on the anvil is a suggestion to offer such passengers the food of their choice, which will be gathered from them a couple of days ahead of their journey. The airline will also be imparting refresher training for its chefs across 28 countries who have "lost their Indian touch". According to the spokesperson, once the new menu is finalised it will be showcased at an exhibition here in September. Air India's international flights currently witness 70 per cent seat occupancy in business class and 37 per cent in first class. Officials hope that even a 10 per cent increase in passengers in this segment will mean a significant boost in revenue for the airline.

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