Air India, the biggest International Carrier from India, has been laying down plans to get even bigger by the day. Even though the US operations of the airline have been loss-making in the past, it is hoping that they will be able to charge the non-stop premium to India and bypass the transition via the middle-east. Delhi San Francisco Air India flights were launched 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 went live on 7 July 2017 as well and is operating 3 times a week as of now. Next, in line, the launches to Stockholm & Copenhagen, have also completed and they are operating normally there. There has been a lot of conversation on Air India launching flights to Los Angeles, however, it looks like pending the privatisation of Air India that decision has been put on hold.
However, it seems we may have some insight into the thinking of the airline at the moment now. It seems Air India will operate more flights to San Francisco with this new bird. At the CAPA India Aviation Summit 2018, which I am attending at the moment, the airline’s commercial director and Board member Mr Pankaj Srivastava made an appearance, and one of the things he announced was that the frequencies will go up from the current 6 flights a week to 9 flights a week in the future.
How would that happen? There is a third Boeing 777-200LR which is not being operated right now, and should be put on the job for this capacity enhancement.
But that is not all, Air India’s non-stops to Sydney and Melbourne also seem to be getting some great response. Remember, when the airline launched the route it was a Delhi/Melbourne/Sydney/Delhi routing. Then they quickly changed it to make it 3 days to Melbourne and 4 days to Sydney. That is set to change, with both the stations now getting 5 days a week coverage from Delhi.
I think this is some terrific route planning by Air India, adding to existing segments where they can’t add new routes at the moment due to obvious reasons. Of course, with Air India, the dates are always a moving target, so let’s see how quickly they manage to really mount these flights.
What do you think of the plans of Air India to add new capacity to San Francisco and to Australia?