India’s approval for the resumption of scheduled flight operations worldwide from March 27 has triggered an urgency among international airlines to announce increased flight frequencies for the summer season.
Emirates, the biggest foreign carrier to operate in India, will resume pre-pandemic flight frequencies to India beginning April 1. The Dubai-based airline used to operate 170 weekly flights to nine Indian destinations – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Ahmedabad and Thiruvananthapuram – prior to late-March 2020.
Sri Lankan Airlines will double up to 88 weekly flights to India to match pre-pandemic levels. It currently covers New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Kochi, Chennai, Trichy, Madurai and Bangalore.
LOT Polish Airlines will commence passenger flights to Mumbai effective May 31. The Polish flag carrier has since resumed passenger flights to New Delhi effective March 29.
“Ensuring a direct connection is an essential element in strengthening Polish-Indian cooperation,” said Rafal Milczarski, CEO and president of the management board, LOT Polish Airlines. “I believe that passengers originating from Delhi will also appreciate the relaunch of this connection, which will enable them to comfortably travel to many cities across Europe and North America.”
Air France and KLM, which had maintained their operations under an air bubble model throughout the pandemic, have also resumed their scheduled commercial operations. Both airlines will progressively increase flight operations from India, starting with 20 weekly flights in April and 30 weekly fights in May. Air France will operate from Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai, while KLM will operate from Delhi and Mumbai.
Naveen Manchanda, president, Indian association of travel and tourism experts (IATTE), said: “With the beginning of scheduled international flights in India, we expect South-east Asia and Europe to be the main drivers of outbound tourism demand. With popular destinations like Thailand also easing travel curbs for international tourists, we are seeing a strong demand from leisure and incentive segments.”