Indian Airlines Resume Hundreds Of Flights As Skies Reopen After Two Years

As scheduled international travel resumes in India today after two years, airlines are ramping their schedules once again. Indian airlines are planning to boost flights into the Middle East and East Asia in the coming weeks to cater to huge pent-up demand this summer. Here’s a look at airline plans.

India’s international flight ban lifted

At 00:00 hours on 27th March, India officially lifted the ban on international scheduled flights, as reported earlier by Simple Flying. First imposed on 19th March 2020, airlines have been forced to operate under “travel bubbles” through the pandemic, only allowing flights to select destinations that India signed reciprocal agreements with. This meant dozens of countries and airlines were locked out of the market, leaving passengers will less choice and high ticket costs.

All of that changes today. In the days leading up to the reopening, carriers have been announcing plans to rapidly increase their flights and build a new schedule. From Emirates to IndiGo, expect to see big changes to this year’s summer schedule.

Emirates (United for Wildlife Livery) Airbus A380-861 A6-EOM

Foreign airlines have been waiting on the chance to return to the India market with full force and carry passengers onward from their hubs. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

About 3,200 weekly flights to and from India

To better understand the impact of the reopening, here’s a look at airline plans for summer 2022. IndiGo will lead the charge with 505 weekly flights from March 27th to October 29th (IATA summer), flying to over a dozen countries. Air India, which saw the biggest overall capacity increase this year, is flying 360 weekly flights, followed by low-cost arm AI Express coming in at 340. SpiceJet is planning 130, Go First 74, and Vistara 56.

In total, Indian airlines will be flying to 43 cities globally with 1,466 scheduled services.

Air India Boeing 777-337(ER) VT-ALU

Air India is back on the road with a 16% increase in total (domestic + international) flights for 2022. Photo: Vincenzo Pace

Foreign airlines received 1,783 weekly flights but over a whopping 60 carriers. Emirates remains the firm leader with 170 flights, followed by Oman Air with 115, Qatar Airways at 99 departures, and Etihad at 80. From Europe, British Airways will fly 49, Lufthansa 32, and KLM 18. Singapore Airlines is returning with 65 weekly flights (103 including Scoot), while newcomers Qantas and American Airlines make the list as well.

In a statement, IndiGo CCO William Boulter said,

We are pleased to resume our scheduled international operations. Following the easing of restrictions, we are witnessing a huge demand for international travel. We hope that this enhanced connectivity with various destinations across the continent will provide a boost to the travel and tourism sector, while proving to be a catalyst for economic revival. As India’s leading airline, IndiGo remains committed to play its part in helping the nation bounce back.”

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Passengers prepare to go abroad

Airlines are responding to a huge demand for international flights this summer from the domestic population. With strict border controls over the last two years, much of the world has been off-limits to passengers from India. However, passengers are now ready to fly and countries are more than willing to boost their tourist populations. Expect to see a bustling summer for airlines as international travel hopes to reach somewhere near pre-pandemic levels.

What do you think about airline plans for this summer? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Business Standard


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