Air India is pulling out of Moscow

In 2014, Air India had started flights to Moscow from Delhi, with a connector to Goa, which is specially popular with Russians. That was one of their first international flights expansion on the back of the Boeing 787s coming online (after Australia and Birmingham). The airline was returning to Moscow after 15 years. Since then, they’ve added tonnes of stations. This flight was certainly an option to flying Aeroflot to India. Shortly after, they launched flights to Milan/Rome.

a group of people standing next to a plane

Air India launched Delhi – San Francisco 3 times a week in December 2015, and then doubled frequency to 6 times a week in November 2016. They started a fifth freedom flight between London and Newark, by launching an Ahmedabad – London – Newark flight. They launched flights to Madrid as well in December 2016 and took over the Delhi – Vienna flights from Austrian. I’d 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 is going live on 7 July 2017 and is already up for sale on the Air India network. The flight will be 3x per week to start with. Like I wrote last, the airline was planning flights to Dallas and Los Angeles as well, apart from other stations in Europe such as a Mumbai – Frankfurt as well. Just a few days ago, they opened reservations for Copenhagen and Stockholm as well, which will be going live later in the year.

Now, amongst all these spate of new openings, one would wonder if there was continuous review or not of the routes. And it seems the first shoe has dropped. Air India will be dropping services to Moscow in the coming days, 3 years after restarting them. The news is not out there, but the bookings have already been closed for this segment.





Goa was the favourite beach town of the Russians, and they came by the droves over the years. However, they have stopped coming for the past 2-3 years, as many a hotel managers tell me when I head up there. If you look at some of the new routes being developed by AI, these are not focusing on O&D traffic but on coordination with other Star Alliance carriers as well. Such as Vienna, Frankfurt, London, Newark, etc. One has to wait and watch about where does this plane go to next?

Perhaps there is no economic case for this flight as well. Except, well, the fact that the Indian PM is in Russia today meeting Putin.

Have you been on the Air India Goa-Delhi-Moscow flights? Any good? What did I miss?

(HT: Ameya)

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. I just completed the DME circuit from BOM on X Class. Notwithstanding the exclusive and warm welcome received (no pun intended !!; yes was a pleasant experience despite with my past horror run-ins) on all my entire flight trip; I am not surprised why this route is being canned. The load factor going to DME was no more than 2-3 occupied seats on entire Business pax; on 20-30% on Economy. On the way back despite the Modi contingent (of approx. 100 pax) – 70% of Economy seats occupied & squabble for Business seats (I guess no need to explain here why ). But to do justice to the flight cabin crew on 787; they were was attentive and effectual.

  2. AI was forced to start Moscow.There was no need for Rome Milan either.Close that too.Concentrate on US/Canada destinations.Houston/Vancouver/Atlanta.Improve the schedules arrival departures.Let low cost arm take over more domestic destinations. Follow a strategy rather than emotions and guesswork.

    • Exactly , AI should stop flying to Rome , Milan etc. The Passenger Traffic on these routes is less. But AI Should at least Operate one flight from Delhi to Moscow Non-stop. There is a huge demand , lots of people come and go from India to Russia. PREVIOUSLY Aeroflot started it’s non-stop flight to Delhi (SU234/Dep13:30) and with the increased load , it started one more (SU232/Dep18:00) and that too Daily! If Air India can operate to Further Distant places with no Load despite being in loss , then it’s a foolish act. AI should concentrate back to Non-stop flights from Delhi DEL to Moscow SVO/DME/VKO.
      It can also started Goa-Moscow Service.
      And perhaps now Air India also has a large number of B787’s.
      Air India , Please look forward for it!

  3. With 50,000 crore debt using Indian taxpayers money they are expanding to all these destinations without any recovery plan. They will never be able to repay the debt despite all the revenue as their operating expenses are too high and interest burden on the debt. GOI cant bail them out every year, its Indian taxpayer money and the government will have to be accontable.

    • Actully AI is running in losses because of government only and there were blunders made during UPA government.

    • I believe most them headed to Pattaya, Thailand, where the fun in the sun includes lots of nightlife activities.

    • Because of the massive depreciation of Russian rubel to Indian rupee. Earlier the rate was 2 rupees for a rubel, now it’s less than 0.90 rupee or less than 90 paisa. Hence it has become uneconomical for them.

  4. But i had a plan to go to see the world cup and i thought i can use my miles cause it was just 23000 miles. I am super sad today 🙁

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