India restarts scheduled international flights

Travellers are once again able to discover the nation’s exotic wonders and historic sites.

By Bloomberg News, March 29 2022
India restarts scheduled international flights

India has officially reopened its doors to the world, with the country resuming scheduled international flights for the the first time since the global pandemic began.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia says all regular international services have now been reinstated, with 60 airlines from 40 countries permitted to run up to 1,783 weekly flights to and from India over the summer. And the airlines have been quick to react.

Emirates has already signalled a return to pre-pandemic frequencies, re-introducing 170 flights to nine cities in the country from April 1.

For Australian travellers, Star Alliance member Air India continues to offer daily flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Delhi, while Qantas currently flies up to five weekly flights from Melbourne and four from Adelaide. 

The resumption of free travel is sure to be a welcome boost for Indian carriers too, which are adding back capacity as more people take to the skies with Covid-19 infections receding and vaccination cover increasing. Falling infections have also paved the way for relaxations in movement curbs and boosted domestic travel.

Both IndiGo, India’s top airline, and SpiceJet posted surprise profits in the quarter through December, underscoring a travel recovery is underway.

Vistara, Singapore Airlines’ Indian joint venture, is back to its pre-Covid capacity and resuming in-flight services like tea and coffee on domestic trips of 90 minutes or more, and offering a wider choice of food in premium cabins, Chief Executive Officer Vinod Kannan said last month.

Opening up of international travel will help Indian carriers resume their expansion plans.

IndiGo is looking to increase international routes to 40% of its capacity in five years from 25% and start non-stop flights to cities like Moscow, Cairo, Tel Aviv, Nairobi, Bali, Beijing and Manila, Chief Executive Officer Ronojoy Dutta said last year.

Additional reporting by Chris Ashton.

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