north america: AI adds North America flights this summer; more nonstops to London and Mumbai-Moscow likely – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Air India will operate more nonstops to North America this summer. While direct flights to the US have so far not seen the expected increase given the demand for travel and pulling back of services by United, Canada connectivity has got a big boost — a demand felt during the pandemic. AI has raised frequency of flights between London and different Indian cities from 28 to 33 per week; could have more nonstops to Australia and start Mumbai-Moscow.
The Tata Group airline will operate 34 weekly nonstops to the US and 10 per week to Canada — 44 in all to the continent. In pre-covid times till March, 2020, AI had about 33 flights weekly to the US. Given huge demand on Mumbai-Newark, where AI is the only airline with nonstops as of now with three flights weekly as United has suspended this route, not making this daily has come as surprise, said a travel agent.
“Efforts are on to consolidate existing operations to North America. Frequency to New York (JFK) has been enhanced from three flights a week to a daily. Also, we will operate 10 flights per week to San Francisco (SFO) from now on. The 34 weekly nonstops to the US will be: 10 to and from SFO; 7 each to Chicago, New York (JFK) and Newark; and three to Washington,” an AI spokesperson said. The 10 weekly to Canada will be 7 to Toronto and 3 to Vancouver.
Air Canada has 21 return flights a week to Delhi from its hubs in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. United has a daily on Delhi-Newark and Delhi-Chicago. And American has a daily Delhi-JFK while Delta is yet to resume Indian flights after March 2020. These are the three North American carriers with nonstops to India. Vistara has been mulling US nonstops for a while now by leasing aircraft.
With regular flights on now, passengers can also take one-stops between India and rest of the world via hubs in the Gulf, Southeast Asia and Europe.
“We are planning to enhance frequency to Australia (by) operating daily flights to Melbourne and Sydney subject to approval of regulatory authorities. We have already raised the frequency by operating four flights a week from Delhi to Sydney. There is a plan to start a service between Mumbai and Moscow subject to regulatory approvals,” the AI spokesperson added.
AI is starting a new sector Kolkata-Hong Kong. Frequency has been enhanced on several other routes.
The DGCA has approved a weekly schedule of 505 weekly international flights by IndiGo; 361 by AI; 340 by AI Express; 130 by SpiceJet; 74 by GoAir and 56 by Vistara.
IndiGo says its will be operating over 150 international routes across middle east, south and southeast Asia in a gradual ramp-up summer to and from destinations like Abu Dhabi, Doha, Bangkok, Phuket, Singapore, Dubai, Kathmandu and Maldives.
Airlines had applied for approval of their international schedule for this summer that will be effective from Sunday (March 27) to October 29, 2022. The DGCA has approved 1,466 departures per week by six Indian carriers to 43 destinations in 27 countries. And 60 foreign airlines of 40 countries have been allowed to operate 1,783 weekly flights to and from India. The DGCA-approved schedule indicates the maximum number of flights an airline can operate.


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