Popular Gulf carrier Emirates announced on Friday that it would reintroduce its pre-pandemic service frequency across its nine destinations in India from 1st April.  

The revival of international travel 

Today’s announcement from the household name comes as India gears up to resume frequent international scheduled flight services from March 27. In late March 2020, the pandemic forced the world into a global lockdown. India grounded international travel when entering its state of lockdown, meaning no international flights have left or entered India for almost two years.  

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) announced the long-awaited lift on scheduled international passenger flights. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Emirates was operating 170 weekly flights to nine destinations within India, some of them being Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. 

The 170 weekly flights are made up of 35 routes to Mumbai, 28 to Delhi, 21 each to Chennai and Hyderabad, 11 to Kolkata. Emirates provided this information in a statement. 

Emirates added that it had brought back its Airbus A380 on a daily basis between Dubai and Mumbai previously. The A380 has been deployed on flight EK 500/501, which runs the route Mumbai – Dubai – Mumbai. 

Major airlines return to India 

The lift of the ban on international flights is welcome news for airliners who operated frequently to India post-pandemic. 

Oman Air, the national airline of Oman, is resuming flights to India in light of the lifted ban on international flights in and out of the country. 

The Middle-Eastern airline announced plans to fly to eight Indian cities, including Goa, Chennai and Delhi. 

Oman Air will contribute significantly to the summer schedule of several Indian airports, one being Cochin International Airport. The Kerala based airport is forecast to have 1,190 weekly flights in its upcoming summer schedule of March to 29 October. At least 20 airlines will be operating to destinations abroad, and Oman Air is planning to run 14 of the 261 weekly departures during the summer period. 

Oman Air aircraft
Oman Air has started to advertise flights to India on social media | © Alberto Cucini/Airways

Germany’s flag carrier Lufthansa will increase its operation in India from 22 to 28 in April, leading to a further increase to 33 in May. By October of this year, the German carrier will be operating a tidal of 42 flights a week to India. 

Malaysian Airlines are planning to reinstate 25 weekly flights to India’s key cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad), according to the carrier’s South Asia manager Amit Mehta. 

Air Canada is currently running 21 return flights a week to Delhi and will return to a nonstop service between Toronto, Montréal and Delhi. 

Air India is planning to increase the number of flights between Singapore and the US from India. The Indian flag carrier is already the only Indian carrier operating direct flights between the two major countries. Earlier this month, Air India’s newly appointed CEO stepped down after only two weeks of his appointment. 

Air India aircraft
Air India provides connections to over 70 international destinations | © Money Sharma/AFP/Getty

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