Over the past 36 hours, various western countries have imposed a ban on Electronics to be carried in the cabin. The USA will later this week prohibits direct flights from 10 airports in 8 countries to have their passengers travel with anything larger than a cellphone in their carry-on. This policy is going in effect this week for an infinite period (although Emirates stated a measure only till October).
UK has followed up with their own ban on electronics in the cabin, but only for large electronics which means laptops, but not other equipment such as Amazon Kindles, iPads and the works.
This means, effectively a major inconvenience for people from the Indian subcontinent who frequently travel via the Middle-East carriers to the US of A. Also inconvenience for all the South East Asian population who used to also fly east on the likes of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways. Afterall, these flights are long, and the business class passenger is usually there for work, not fun. That is why, high chance they will use their laptops even if for a while and not through out the flight.
This is a possibility now for the Indian carriers and the Indian airports to shine! And I hope they don’t lose the opportunity.
Air India should already be on their way to recoup their losses from the US operations. Air India has the largest Non-stop operations between India and the US of A, with flights connecting India to Newark, New York JFK, Chicago and San Francisco and another one coming soon to Washington DC. If they primed up their service and their planes on an emergency basis, after all so many of them are broken, they could seize the opportunity to be a preferred option for Indian businesses to fly them to the US of A.
Jet Airways in their last restructuring, gave up on flying to the US when they moved their hub from Brussels to Amsterdam. They now partner with Delta/KLM/Air France to offer connections to the US of A. However, they are now using their B77Ws, of which they have at least 10, to fly to routes such as Singapore and Dubai, and this is their opportunity to strike with a flight, perhaps a non-stop or two, to the US of A. The chatter has been on for long, and even though it is not easy to mount such an operation in a short time, I’m sure Jet Airways can fly a plane to the east coast apart from some payload restrictions. The Open Skies treaty will allow the countries to do so.
As for the Indian Airports, specially Delhi and Mumbai, this is a great time to show what they got. By stealing the thunder from some of the middle-east airports and becoming a preferred hub to transit passengers between the US and South East Asia to start with. That Air India is an option on the Kangaroo route is known, but not very well. But the Kangaroo Route is not the one affected here given Britain’s restrictions don’t apply to the Big 3 carriers.
For instance, look at all these connecting flights between East Coast and Bangkok. Mumbai airport is one of the best they have now for transit, and if the government takes an easy approach, the airlines and the airports can make it work too!!
Opportunity strikes for Indian carriers. After feeding the middle-eastern brethren for years, they now have a chance of striking back with a good product to take away that traffic for good. Will they do it? Will you do it? I’m keen to hear your remarks in the comments section.