With India opening up international travel March 27 onwards, foreign airlines have not just announced resumption of routes, some have also added more flights to their schedule.
International carriers that have announced either resumption of flights or increase in frequencies, include Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, Air Mauritius, Malaysia Air, among others.
Virgin Atlantic, announced the “largest ever flying program to India”, and added its second daily on the Delhi - London route, beginning June 1, and also a change in schedule for flights flying to the United Kingdom.
The carrier will operate a morning and night departure from Delhi now; with tickets for the new flight (that will be introduced in June) going on-sale.
From March 27, flights from Mumbai to Heathrow will have an afternoon departure (thereby arriving into London in the evening). Together with Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic will offer seamless connections between Delhi and the USA via Heathrow, some of the US destinations being New York JFK, Boston, Austin, Seattle and Atlanta.
“We are excited to offer customers even more choice this summer when flying to London Heathrow and beyond, with a double daily Delhi service, alongside our daily Mumbai service. This will be our largest ever flying programme to India, which is our third largest market globally,” Alex McEwan, Country Manager South Asia at Virgin Atlantic, said.
Meanwhile, American Airlines’ Managing Director – Europe, Middle East, and Asia Operations, Rhett Workman told BusinessLine that the carrier would look forward to expand its presence in India by “deepening its partnership with IndiGo” and launch a “new service between Seattle and Bengaluru” later this year.
The airlines has been operating daily service between New Delhi and New York (JFK) under the bubble agreements; which will subsequently become scheduled operations Sunday onwards.
Air Mauritius, the flag carrier of Mauritius, will increase frequencies to 5 weekly flights between Mumbai and Mauritius from March 27, up from 4 flights a week it was operating under bubble arrangements. Apart from Mumbai, it currently has two direct flights a week between the Delhi – Mauritius route.
Emirates will re-introduce pre-pandemic flight frequencies April 1 onwards and operate 170 weekly flights to nine cities in India.
These include Mumbai (35 weekly flights), New Delhi (28 weekly ones), Bengaluru (24 a week), Chennai (21 a week), Hyderabad (21 a week), Kochi (14 a week), Kolkata (11 a week), Ahmedabad (9 weekly flights) and Thiruvananthapuram (7 weekly flights).
“Emirates will also bring back the Airbus A380 on a daily basis between Dubai and Mumbai in March 2022,”it said in a statement.
Another airline which is restoring connectivity is Malaysia Airlines. The airlines said that starting March 27 it’ll “reinstate scheduled commercial services to India” - namely New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, and Hyderabad - “after close to 24 months suspension due to border closure between the two countries”.
International carriers are also adding value-adds.
For instance, Virgin Atlantic will offer flexibility in bookings – where customers can change travel dates, with out any charge. The facility will be available till December 31, 2023.
On the other hand, Emirates announced that customers travelling in first and business class (from Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi) “can avail complimentary chauffeur drive service to the airport and on arrival at select locations within the airline’s global network”. Those travelling in premium cabins and Emirates Skywards members in select membership tiers will also have access to the lounge experience in Dubai and select airports globally.
Malaysia Airlines, “anticipating increased passenger volume”, will be making operational its Golden Lounge at the Satellite building in KL International Airport, April 1 onwards.