In the wake of upcoming FIFA World Cup, Air India adds more flights to Dubai and Qatar

Air India, Vihann.AI

Air India is seeking to take advantage of an expected increase in passenger traffic due to the FIFA World Cup tournament that will take place in November-December in Doha.

As part of plans to increase its presence on international routes, Air India plans to start new flights to Qatar and Dubai as part of its winter schedule. The airline plans to add four weekly flights from Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi to Dubai.

The airline is also looking to add six weekly flights between India and Qatar, between Delhi, Mumbai, and Doha, depending on available slots.

While Air India is confident about increasing weekly flights to Doha as part of the winter schedule, adding flights to Dubai may need some government approval.

For this, Air India is planning to lease more aircraft. It is planning to use its Airbus A320 Neo planes on these routes and will also look to lease around five more Airbus A321 aircraft if it manages to add additional flights to both Dubai and Doha. Air India is in discussion with multiple leasing companies for A321 Neos.

“Air India is looking to take advantage of the high passenger traffic to Dubai and Qatar due to the FIFA World Cup in November.

We are currently using all our 69 entitled flights to fly into Dubai. Additional routes will require a change in bilateral agreements.”

Senior Official, Air India

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While discussions are in the preliminary stages, a bigger push is expected when there is more clarity on slot availability. The airline has 70 narrow-body planes of which 54 are currently serviceable; it has 43 Air wide-body aircraft, of which 33 are operational.

Recently, Air India had a special Independence day sale under the banner of ‘ONE INDIA ONE FARE’. The tickets from Dubai were starting at Dh330 in this sale. It will be available from August 8 until August 21.

Air India star alliance livery DGCA in no rush to restart scheduled International Flights
The airline under its new owners is in the process of expanding its international presence and restoring Air India’s global reputation.

The ‘One India One Fare’ scheme provides reduced one-way flights from all Gulf countries, except Oman, to any Indian location. This applies to tickets purchased during the promotion period for travel until October 15.

The Tata Group currently operates four airlines under its brand including full-service carriers Air India and Vistara as well as budget airlines Air India Express and AirAsia India.

ALSO READ – Vistara may merge with Air India, decision expected by end of 2023

While Air India and Vistara are expected to be merged into one airline, Air India Express, it is speculated, would be combined with AirAsia India to form the Tata Group’s consolidated budget entity.