Air India has been undergoing massive expansion over the past few years. The airline has now started the exercise of contracting their operations ahead of their sale, of which the process has begun earlier this year. This is not necessarily a bad thing to see, because the airline is perhaps now trying to match frequencies with loads in light of their bad financial situation. For instance, Air India has switched its Washington DC flight to a Boeing 787 from a Boeing 777, after studying the loads in the initial periods.
Air India has now made some changes in its summer schedule, which affects various 787-8 operated routes. One could imagine some of these could be after-effects of the situation around Asia right now. Still, there is more to it, I believe, including taking various airframes out of circulation from the summer schedule and perhaps launching another frequency with them.
As per AirlineRoute.net, who first picked up this information, the following routes are going to see reductions,
- Delhi – Hong Kong 29MAR20 – 03SEP20 Reduce from 7 to 6 weekly
- Delhi – Milan Malpensa 31MAR20 – 06SEP20 Reduce from 4 to 3 weekly
- Delhi – Seoul Incheon 29MAR20 – 05SEP20 Reduce from 4 to 3 weekly
- Delhi – Shanghai Pu Dong 29MAR20 – 04SEP20 Reduce from 5 to 4 weekly
- Delhi – Sydney 04APR20 – 31AUG20 Reduce from 5 to 3 weekly
- Delhi – Vienna 29MAR20 – 31AUG20 Reduce from 4 to 3 weekly
Delhi – Hong Kong Cancellations
Hong Kong flights are already cancelled as I wrote before here, due to the Corona Virus situation, through the end of the Winter 2019/2020 schedule:
- AI310/AI 314: Delhi to Hongkong stands cancelled effective February 10 to March 28, 2020.
- AI 317/AI 315: Hongkong to Delhi stands cancelled effective February 11 to March 28, 2020.
Air India expects to relaunch the flights on March 29, 2020. However, the flight has been reduced from a daily flight to a 6x weekly flight, with the Saturday departure from India cancelled and Sunday departure from Hong Kong cancelled.
Delhi – Milan Malpensa
Air India runs an Italy operation with flights to Milan 4 times a week from Delhi and flights to Rome 3 times a week from Delhi. Now, Air India has decided to cut back the Milan frequency and make it three times a week as well from the summer schedule. Flights departing from Delhi on Monday to Milan (AI137) are being cancelled and also the return frequency from Milan (AI138) on Tuesday.
Delhi – Seoul
Air India had recently re-aligned their flights to cut the Delhi – Hong Kong – Seoul flights and make direct flights between Delhi – Seoul and Delhi – Hong Kong. This led to the airline launching four times a week Seoul flights. However, the route is being cut from 4 weekly to 3 weekly effective the start of the summer schedule. AI312/AI313 to/from Seoul won’t operate anymore on Monday when the Summer Schedule 2020 kicks in.
Delhi – Shanghai Pu Dong
Shanghai flights are already cancelled as I wrote before here, due to the Corona Virus situation, through the end of the Winter 2019/2020 schedule:
- AI 348: Delhi to Shanghai stands cancelled effective February 15 to March 28, 2020.
- AI 349: Shanghai to Delhi stands cancelled effective February 15 to March 28, 2020.
Air India expects to relaunch the flights on March 29, 2020. However, the flight has been reduced from a 5X weekly flight to a 4x weekly flight. AI348/AI349 will only operate on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.
Delhi – Sydney
Air India had, in Summer Schedule 2018, added the fifth weekly frequency to the Delhi – Sydney flight. Now, the airline is dialling back from the five weekly flights to a low of 3 weekly flights between Delhi – Sydney. Come launch of the Summer 2020 schedule, and the schedule will be as follows:
- AI 302: Delhi to Sydney on Friday, Saturday and Monday
- AI 301: Sydney to Delhi on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday
The Tuesday and Thursday departures from Delhi and the Wednesday and Friday flights from Sydney are being cancelled. This means there is an equal distribution of capacity between Sydney and Melbourne now.
Delhi – Vienna
Air India’s Delhi – Vienna service was a hand me down from Austrian Airlines. For now, the airline operates four times a week to Vienna with flights to and from Vienna on Monday/Wednesday/Friday and Sunday. Going forward, Air India will drop the Wednesday departure out of Vienna.
It seems Air India is either trying to launch new routes by cutting back some capacity, in which case these flights are at best targetted at tourists with most flights being bunched towards the weekends. Or this is a careful move to keep bleeding of money lower than the current situation. Either way, the customer loses on Air India options.
What do you make out of the cutbacks to Air India flights? Air India has not formally announced these.