Jet Airways, the airline that had Mumbai as it’s home base, is operating just 28 aircraft out of their 110 aircraft fleet at the moment. Both, Mumbai and Delhi operations are severely hit for them as a result. There was conversation a few days ago about a few of their slots being made available to other airlines temporarily. However, there was no confirmation of how many slots were going away, at which airports and to which airlines.
Mumbai Airport has just opened up completely after two months of repairs, but flight operations have reduced as Jet Airways is operating just 20 flights out of 110 scheduled departures at Mumbai. In light of this, some slots at Mumbai airport have been made available to the newer entrants, Vistara and AirAsia India. Both the airlines have quickly added flights from Mumbai temporarily.
Vistara used to operate a single flight on Mumbai – Bengaluru sector, on an unattractive slot, back in the day. But due to unavailability of desired slots, they pulled out of the route. Currently, Vistara operates 10x daily flights on the Mumbai – Delhi sector and 1x daily Mumbai – Amritsar flights. From April 16, 2019, to July 15, 2019, Vistara will add,
Five daily flights on Mumbai – Bengaluru and return
UK851 BOM0535 – 0720BLR 320 D
UK863 BOM0905 – 1055BLR 320 D
UK853 BOM1540 – 1720BLR 320 D
UK865 BOM1810 – 1955BLR 320 D
UK857 BOM2055 – 2235BLR 320 D
UK858 BLR0640 – 0815BOM 320 D
UK852 BLR0855 – 1035BOM 320 D
UK864 BLR1135 – 1320BOM 320 D
UK854 BLR1825 – 2010BOM 320 D
UK866 BLR2035 – 2225BOM 320 D
One daily on Mumbai – Kolkata and return
UK771 BOM1405 – 1615CCU 320 D
UK772 CCU1040 – 1325BOM 320 D
One daily on Mumbai – Hyderabad and return
UK875 BOM1405 – 1525HYD 320 D
UK876 HYD1605 – 1730BOM 320 D
Meanwhile, Vistara will also be adding a 15-days only, daily Mumbai-Goa flight from April 16, 2019 to April 30, 2019.
UK841 BOM1125 – 1235GOI 320 D
UK842 GOI1310 – 1440BOM 320 D
All of these flights are going to operate, for now, temporarily. As of yesterday, these routes are already available for sale, and ticket prices look alright.
Vistara has not taken delivery of any new aircraft. This expansion is coming at the expense of other routes. Vistara used to operate two daily Ahmedabad – Bengaluru flights in the last six months, which is now one daily flight. Vistara will pull out of the route entirely from April 16 onwards. Vistara will also reduce frequency on Delhi – Kolkata from the current four daily flights to 3 daily flights from April 15, 2019.
It is good to see a full-service carrier finally adding flights from Mumbai.
AirAsia India first added flights from Mumbai in January 2019. They added a single daily Mumbai-Bengaluru red eye. AirAsia India will start a new flight on Mumbai – Kolkata route from today, April 5, 2019. AirAsia India has also secured some additional slots at Mumbai airport.
From April 15, 2019, onwards, AirAsia India will add,
Three daily flights on Mumbai – Bengaluru – Mumbai (total of 4 daily flights)
I5302 BOM0805 – 0950BLR 320 D
I5335 BOM1830 – 2005BLR 320 D
I5313 BOM2335 – 0120(+1 day)BLR 320 D
I5304 BLR1050 – 1230BOM 320 D
I5334 BLR2105 – 2255BOM 320 D
I5306 BLR2235 – 0030(+1 day)BOM 320 D
Six weekly Mumbai – Kochi – Mumbai flights
I5310 BOM1315 – 1520COK 320 x2
I5311 COK1550 – 1750BOM 320 x2
One weekly Mumbai – Indore flight
I5607 BOM1315 – 1445COK 320 2
I5608 COK1545 – 1720BOM 320 2
However, bookings for the Mumbai – Indore flights haven’t started yet. It is surprising to see AirAsia India getting slots for only 15 days at Mumbai airport, unlike Vistara which managed to secure slots for more than three months. These Air Asia flights are all launched for 15 days at the moment.
It is good to see slots not being used, handed over to other airlines, even if temporarily, so that peak travel season isn’t affected. But as you can see, most of the capacity addition is on the Mumbai -Bengaluru route, which is a big corporate route.
Last year, Jet Airways used to operate up to 11 daily flights on Mumbai – Bengaluru sector, which is now down to just 3x daily (2x JetKonnect and 1x Jet Airways). So, the addition of 8 new daily flights (5 Vistara and 3 AirAsia India) balances the number of flights cancelled by Jet Airways on this route.
Next round of expansion, if more slots are indeed transferred, might come from no-frills carriers. But then, IndiGo has a pilot shortage. SpiceJet is as it is facing an aircraft shortage following groundings of 737 Max and if they go-ahead with taking over Jet Airways aircraft, then only they can expand. Air India and GoAir are grounding aircraft for reasons unknown. Vistara will start taking delivery of new aircraft only in the second half of 2019.
So does this mean Vistara will delay the launch of its international foray? Or do they have some slack in their flight schedule? They can still launch red-eye international flights, but I don’t think they will, for now, considering Colombo is rumoured to be their first international destination.
Which one of these new flights being added from Mumbai will become your go-to flight?