Saturday, February 17, 2018

Twice daily nonstops: Air India looks at SFO on weekends and to Australia thrice a week

New Delhi: Soon-to-be-privatised Air India is looking at majorly increasing the frequency of its popular nonstops to San Francisco (SFO) and Australia. The Delhi-SFO flight is currently six days a week and the Maharaja is planning a 50% increase by making it nine times a week. And the daily Delhi-Australia nonstop may be raised to 10 flights weekly. AI is the only airline that flies nonstop from India to Australia and to the west coast of US.
“We are witnessing lot of rush on the SFO nonstop during weekends. So we are looking at having a double daily on Fridays and Sundays. As of now there are two options, to make it a daily or have 9 a week. We are more keen on nine flights,” said a senior AI official.
Similarly, AI currently has four flights a week on Delhi-Sydney and three to Melbourne. The airline is planning to make it five flights a week to Sydney and as many to Melbourne. Being the only direct flight between India and Australia, there is significant demand for these flights, say officials. This is acknowledged by the Australians as well.
Tony Huber, Australia’s consul general in Mumbai, Tweeted on Saturday: “Australia receives more visitors from India than from Hong Kong, Indonesia & New Zealand. Those three countries have 666 flights to Australia between them per week — India has 7. A reminder of how much economic & tourism potential can be unlocked between” the two countries.
At present, majority of travellers between India and Australia do so on southeast Asian carriers like Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and AirAsia. In recent times, Chinese carriers are also trying to get a pie of India’s increasing traffic to the east — right up to the east cost of US — by offering low fares.
17/02/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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