As India resumes scheduled international flights after a two-year hiatus on Sunday (March 27), more foreign airlines are declaring plans for the country.
Indian carriers have yet to reveal their foreign schedules for the post-reopening period. Emirates, the largest foreign airline in terms of flights to and from India, will resume its pre-pandemic flying schedule.
The giant carrier will begin operating 170 weekly flights between Dubai and nine Indian cities on April 1. After a two-year hiatus, scheduled foreign flights will resume in India on Sunday (March 27). Emirates has announced that it will operate the following flights:
Mumbai- 35 weekly; Delhi- 28 weekly; Bengaluru– 24; Chennai and Hyderabad- 21 weekly each; Kochi- 14; Kolkata – 11; Ahmedabad-9 and Thiruvananthapuram-7. The Indira Gandhi Foreign Airport (IGIA) in the national capital, which is also the country’s main airport, anticipates a considerable increase in international flight departures in the first week of April following the restoration of regular international operations.
While Indian carriers are preparing for normal international flights, several foreign airlines, notably Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, and LOT Polish, have announced plans for services to and from India. Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended since March 23, 2020 as a result of the pandemic, but they will resume on Sunday. Overseas flights are being operated via bilateral air bubble agreements with a variety of countries.
The civil aviation ministry said on March 8 that regular international flights will resume on March 27 due to a decrease in coronavirus incidence. The government has also amended the COVID standards for international aircraft operations, removing the necessity to leave three seats empty on foreign flights for medical situations.
Furthermore, the requirement for the crew to have full PPE gear has been eliminated. IndiGo Chief Commercial Officer Willy Boulter said in a statement on Saturday that the airline is eager to resume foreign operations at pre-COVID levels, but that this will be contingent on factors such as arrival norms of individual nations.
“We certainly have plans to open new destinations in the near future, as well as pump up capacity on our existing routes as travel further, opens up. Reaching economies of scale in such a dynamic environment where ATF and other fixed costs are constantly going up, becomes challenging,” he said.
IndiGo is India’s largest airline. “After the restart of commercial operations, South East Asia and Europe are likely to be the key drivers of continued international passenger growth,” a DIAL official said on Friday.
DIAL, IGIA’s operator, aims to connect to more than 60 international destinations once regular international flights resume. IGIA is the country’s largest airport, handling around 1.8 lakh people per day before the implementation of COVID.
The number of international Air Traffic Movements (ATMs) is also expected to expand from 165 per day to 300 per day in summer 2022, according to the spokesperson.
These 170 weekly flights comprise 35 flights to Mumbai, 28 flights to Delhi, 24 flights to Bengaluru, 21 flights each to Chennai and Hyderabad, 14 flights to Kochi, 11 flights to Kolkata, nine flights to Ahmedabad, and seven flights to Thiruvananthapuram.
On Friday, Sri Lankan Airlines said that it would begin running up to 88 weekly flights to India to match the pre-COVID flight schedule. The airline serves nine cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Chennai, and Bangalore.
Beginning June 1, British carrier Virgin Atlantic will launch a second daily flight between Delhi and London. Virgin Atlantic announced on Friday that, in addition to existing service from Mumbai, it will operate three daily flights from India.
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