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India resumes international flights; 66 airlines will operate 3,249 weekly flights from today

According to a TOI report, six Indian and 60 foreign airlines from 40 countries — but none from China as of now — will from Sunday operate 3,249 weekly flights to and from India under the summer schedule as regular international flights resume after a gap of over two years.

A gradual increase in connectivity to the allowed number of flights is expected to lead to fares falling from the stratospheric levels of the bubble system, which lapses on Saturday. But they are likely to be higher than pre-Covid times due to Russia’s war on Ukraine pushing up oil prices.

At 505 weekly flights, IndiGo will have the highest international departures on a standalone basis among all airlines, followed by Air India at 361, AI Express at 340 and Emirates at 170. Three Tata Group airlines — AI, AI Express and Vistara — will have 757 weekly flights, including the only ones by an Indian carrier to North America, Europe, the Far East and Australia. IndiGo’s Istanbul flight will resume from May 1; its pre-pandemic China flights have not yet restarted.

Tata’s fourth airline, the eight-year-old AirAsia India, still does not have any international flights in the DGCA-approved schedule, indicating the possibility of an early merger with AI Express to fly abroad on the latter’s licence.

Foreign airlines will again be able to offer one-stop transit to travel between India and rest of the world through their hubs — especially those in the Gulf and a few in Southeast Asia, like Singapore.

Airlines had applied for approval of their international schedules for this summer.These schedules will be effective from Sunday (March 27) to October 29 this year.“A total of 1,466 departures per week by six Indian carriers have been approved to 43 destinations in 27 countries, including UAE (Indians’ biggest foreign destination), Singapore, Thailand, Qatar, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Turkey, Malaysia, UK, France, Germany, the US, Canada, Australia, Israel, Japan, Hong Kong and Russia,” a senior DGCA official said.

“Sixty foreign airlines of 40 countries have been allowed to operate 1,783 weekly flights to and from India. The airlines are from countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, the US, Germany, Singapore, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France Japan, Russia, UAE, Australia, Qatar, Britain, Canada and Eggypt,” said the official. China is not on this list.

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