Monday, October 19, 2020

Air India ‘direct’ flights on IXE-BOM sector go ‘round-robin’

Mangaluru: Air India has restarted direct flights from Mumbai to Mangaluru. However, due to operational reasons in view of the pandemic, the flights that operate four days a week — Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday — are in some cases operating as a ‘round robin’ trip. Since the direct flights were reintroduced around a week ago, the Mumbai-Mangaluru flight has operated via Chennai, Goa and even Coimbatore as well.

The state owned airline, due to restrictions on arrival and departure of flights from Mumbai due to Covid-19 situation in Maharashtra, had gone slow in reintroducing the direct flight between India’s commercial capital and this coastal city. The initial round of direct flight from Mumbai saw Air India touch Kochi on the return leg to Mumbai even while the flight arrived directly in to Mangaluru International Airport from Mumbai.

Sources in the airline, seeking anonymity, said that there are issues with crew, aircraft availability and even strict health protocols that crew have to follow due to Covid-19. “The airline is making the best possible use of resources with it, to operate as many pre-Covid-19 routes as possible. We have flown to some hitherto new sector necessitated by the situation in the unlock phase,” the sources said.

This is one of the primary reasons for the airline to temporarily shelve its plans to start a flight between Mangaluru and Mysuru that was initially scheduled for October 25. “We did open bookings for this sector but have since suspended it for operational reasons,” the source said. “The flight to Mysuru will be introduced as soon as ground conditions become favourable and there is assured demand from flying passengers,” the sources said.

19/10/20 Jaideep Shenoy/Times of India

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