In 2014, Air India had started flights to Moscow from Delhi, with a connector to Goa, which is specially popular with Russians. That was one of their first international flights expansion on the back of the Boeing 787s coming online (after Australia and Birmingham). The airline was returning to Moscow after 15 years. Since then, they’ve added tonnes of stations. This flight was certainly an option to flying Aeroflot to India. Shortly after, they launched flights to Milan/Rome.
Air India launched Delhi – San Francisco 3 times a week in December 2015, and then doubled frequency to 6 times a week in November 2016. They started a fifth freedom flight between London and Newark, by launching an Ahmedabad – London – Newark flight. They launched flights to Madrid as well in December 2016 and took over the Delhi – Vienna flights from Austrian. I’d say that is a spectacular show given they are going in all directions.
We earlier wrote about the Air India flight to Washington DC from Delhi. This is going live on 7 July 2017 and is already up for sale on the Air India network. The flight will be 3x per week to start with. Like I wrote last, the airline was planning flights to Dallas and Los Angeles as well, apart from other stations in Europe such as a Mumbai – Frankfurt as well. Just a few days ago, they opened reservations for Copenhagen and Stockholm as well, which will be going live later in the year.
Now, amongst all these spate of new openings, one would wonder if there was continuous review or not of the routes. And it seems the first shoe has dropped. Air India will be dropping services to Moscow in the coming days, 3 years after restarting them. The news is not out there, but the bookings have already been closed for this segment.
Goa was the favourite beach town of the Russians, and they came by the droves over the years. However, they have stopped coming for the past 2-3 years, as many a hotel managers tell me when I head up there. If you look at some of the new routes being developed by AI, these are not focusing on O&D traffic but on coordination with other Star Alliance carriers as well. Such as Vienna, Frankfurt, London, Newark, etc. One has to wait and watch about where does this plane go to next?
Perhaps there is no economic case for this flight as well. Except, well, the fact that the Indian PM is in Russia today meeting Putin.
Have you been on the Air India Goa-Delhi-Moscow flights? Any good? What did I miss?