TravTalk - India
Up, Up and Away
I could not be happier while writing the editorial for this edition of the magazine. Finally, the Indian skies are open, and our tourists are ready to travel! Yes, after two years of the international flight ban, this day has come. DGCA has approved foreign and Indian airlines to operate 3,200+ weekly international departures during the summer schedule — from March 27 till October 29. 1,466 departures per week have been approved for Indian carriers to 43 destinations in 27 countries. On the other hand, 1,783 departures per week will be operated by foreign airlines. As per the approved schedule, IndiGo has been approved to operate 505 international departures per week, followed by Air India at 361, Air India Express 340, SpiceJet at 130, GoFirst at 74 and Vistara at 56. Besides, a total of 60 foreign airlines of 40 countries have been given approval to operate 1,783 frequencies to and from India during the summer schedule for this year. Among foreign carriers, Emirates will operate 170 departures per week, followed by Sri Lanka Airlines at 128, Oman Air at 115, Air Arabia at 110, Qatar Airways at 99, Gulf Air at 82, Etihad Airways at 80, Singapore Airlines at 65, Saudi Arabian Airlines at 63 and Kuwait Airways at 56. British Airways at 49, Thai Airways at 36, Lufthansa German at 32, Malaysia Airlines at 30, Japan Air Lines at 22, Air France at 20, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines at 18 and Aeroflot Russian Airlines at 6. In addition, the Centre has allowed operations of airlines such as Salam Air, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, Qantas and American Airlines. Under the previous air bubble agreements, the number of flights was restricted to around 2,000 a week and ticket prices soared high. While a big correction in the flight tickets was expected, and ideally, airfare should go down, but the UkraineRussia crises has led to oil prices to rise sharply, and it might be a while before we see the ticket prices coming down. While the aviation ministry has done its part, all eyes are now set on the Ministry of tourism to ensure that India is flocking with foreign tourists.