Air India, the most prominent International Carrier from India, has been laying down plans to get even bigger by the day. Also though the US operations of the airline have been loss-making in the past, it is hoping that they will be able to charge the non-stop premium to India and bypass the transition via the middle-east. Delhi San Francisco Air India flights were launched three times a week in December 2015 and then doubled in frequency to 6 times a week in November 2016 and recently increased to 9 times a week.
Air India started a fifth freedom flight between London and Newark, by launching an Ahmedabad – London – Newark flight. They began flights to Madrid as well in December 2016 and took over the Delhi – Vienna flights from Austrian. I would say that is a spectacular show given they are going in all directions.
We earlier wrote about the Air India flight to Washington DC from Delhi. This went live on 7 July 2017 as well and is operating three times a week as of now. Next, in line, the launches to Stockholm & Copenhagen, have also completed and they are operating normally there. There has been much conversation on Air India launching flights to Los Angeles; however, it looks like pending the privatization of Air India that decision has been put on hold.
With the induction of 787s completed, Air India is still, however, trying to put them to good use. They added more flights to Sydney and are trying to explore more flights to Melbourne as well. Israel got 3X a week flights too, being the first ones to be able to overfly Saudi Arabian airspace to access Israel.
This week, Air India will increase frequency to Copenhagen by one more flight per week, and they also claim to be considering adding more flights to Vienna.
However, all the growth has been from Delhi so far, except the lone 787 flight from Mumbai to London that operates every day. You cannot fault Air India wanting to do the right thing with their Delhi hub.
Anyhow, it seems Mumbai is next in line to get at least some of Air India’s 787 operations. AI is planning to launch a direct flight from Mumbai to Frankfurt, as early as June this year. This flight would be operated thrice a week and depart for Frankfurt in the morning hours.
That is as much as we know about this right now. Perhaps the 787 they plan to use for this route is already deployed four times a week elsewhere. However, what beats me on this plan is that with three times a week, this will perhaps not be able to offer a reliable option as against Lufthansa who has two planes flying to Mumbai every day (one from MUC and FRA each). Frankfurt to Mumbai is not just a tourism market or a VFR market, but a substantial business travel market and the reason Lufthansa makes it work is a right amount of business travelers, as well as transit to Europe as well as North America.
While Air India is a part of the Star Alliance, it does not believe in code sharing as much to be able to offer options to transit further on Lufthansa-owned carriers. So, this would be another meek effort with cheap flights to get to Frankfurt, unfortunately, and nothing more than that if AI does not manage to scale up this flight quickly.
What do you think of Air India Frankfurt to Mumbai to Frankfurt flight plans, thrice a week?