- Vistara, an Indian full-service airline owned by Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, is eyeing direct flights to the United States as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes demand for non-stop travel. Vistara is studying various scenarios for starting direct flights. The specific timeframe and aircraft requirements have yet to be finalised.
- SpiceJet on Thursday said it will operate twice-weekly flights between Delhi and Ras Al Khaimah from November 26. The low-cost carrier will also start 12 new domestic flights in November, it said in a press release. “While the flight on the Delhi-Ras Al Khaimah route will be operational on Thursdays and Sundays, the flight on the return leg of Ras Al Khaimah-Delhi will operate on Fridays and Mondays,” it said. The airline added Ras Al Khaimah will be its 12th international destination.
- The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has established a separate bilateral air bubble arrangement with Ethiopia for operation of special international passenger flights between the two countries.
- Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday expressed confidence that air travel would reach pre-COVID levels by the end of the year or early next year. “We opened civil aviation on May 25, a good two months and two days after we have completely locked down…..with 30,000. passengers on a day. Two days or three days ago, we carried 225,000 and with a scale at which we are opening up in a calibrated manner, we have already opened up 70 percent capacity,” he said. He said he has told his colleagues to look at 80 percent. “I am confident that by the end of the year, by December 31 or soon thereafter… means a week or two weeks thereafter, we will be back to pre-Covid levels,” he said.
- The international passenger traffic at Mumbai International Airport from West Asia increased by 63% since June. As of October 31, international passenger traffic from Europe increased by 18% and from North America by 10% with traffic expected to further increase this month. “While the airport is seeing maximum air passenger traffic from the Middle East [West Asia], Europe and North America respectively, some air traffic is also being seen from Africa. However, currently, the least traffic is being witnessed from the Asia Pacific,” said a CSMIA spokesperson. Africa contributed to 7%, while Asia Pacific 2% of the total air traffic.
Since the commencement of India’s air bubble agreement with the UAEA, there is a higher movement of passengers on the Mumbai-Dubai route, followed by Mumbai-Sharjah and Mumbai-Abu Dhabi. As part of the air bubble agreement, over 122,960 passengers flew from Mumbai to the UAE from June to October. Etihad Airways, Emirates, and Air Arabia carried a bulk of the passengers to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah. As many as 108,250 passengers travelled on the Mumbai-Dubai route with 751 flights, followed by Sharjah (8,715 passengers on 91 flights) and Abu Dhabi (5,990 passengers and 130 flights). (Source: The Hindustan Times)