Air India adds nonstop flights to Hong Kong and Seoul; removes fifth freedom flights

For the past few weeks, Air India has been adding a lot of international flights. They opened up bookings for three times a week non-stop Delhi – Toronto flights. Air India also added flights to Dubai from Kolkata and Indore. Also on the anvil are non-stop flights from Mumbai to Nairobi and Delhi to Chennai to Bali routes.

Back in the day, Air India operated a range of fifth freedom flights. Last year, Air India discontinued its London Heathrow – Newark, fifth freedom flight and added a Bengaluru – London Heathrow flights instead. As of now, Air India operates just two fifth freedom flights, four times a week flight on Mumbai – Delhi – Hong Kong – Seoul route and three times a week flights on Mumbai – Delhi – Hong Kong – Osaka route with a Boeing 787-8.

Air India Mumbai to Hong Kong

Air India 787-8

Air India will be discontinuing both fifth freedom flights from Septemeber 17, 2019. Instead, Air India will operate 4x weekly nonstop flights on the Delhi – Seoul route from September 18, 2019. The flights will be operated with a Boeing 787-8 with the following schedule,

AI312 DEL0020 – 0950ICN 788 x357
AI313 ICN1205 – 1635DEL 788 x357

Air India’s 787-8 have 18 lie-flat business class seats and 238 economy class seats. Air India is offering INR 41k roundtrip economy fares on the Delhi – Seoul route. A roundtrip business class ticket starts at INR 110k on this route.

Air India mumbai to hong kong

Air India Delhi to Seoul

Asiana Airlines which operates 5x weekly A330-300 flights on Delhi-Seoul route will be discontinuing flights from July 2019. This is the second instance where Air India will pick up a route which is being discontinued by a Star Alliance member. Meanwhile, Air India will shift the departure of its Hong Kong-Delhi flight to a morning departure from September 18, 2019. The schedule for the flight is,

AI314 DEL2305 – 0650(+1 day)HKG 788 135
AI310 DEL2305 – 0650(+1 day)HKG 788 x135

AI315 HKG0805 – 1130DEL 788 246
AI317 HKG0805 – 1130DEL 788 x246

Air India Mumbai to Hong Kong

Air India Boeing 787-8 Business Class Bed

It was rumoured that Air India would be adding a daily non-stop flight on Mumbai – Hong Kong route. From September 19, 2019, Air India will add daily non-stop flights on Mumbai – Hong Kong route. The flights will be operated with a 787-8 with the following schedule,

AI316 BOM0835 – 1650HKG 788 D
AI311 HKG1805 – 2155BOM 788 D

Air India is offering INR 40k economy roundtrip fares on Mumbai-Hong Kong route. A roundtrip business class ticket starts at INR 94k on this route.

Air India mumbai to hong kong

Air India Mumbai to Hong Kong

SpiceJet recently opened bookings for its new non-stop flights on Mumbai-Hong Kong route with a 737-800.


Air India will start 4x weekly non-stop flights on Delhi – Seoul route as well as daily non-stop flights on Mumbai-Hong Kong route with a Boeing 787-8. Meanwhile, Air India will no longer operate fifth freedom flights as it discontinues both its fifth freedom flights to Osaka and Seoul from Hong Kong. It does have a couple of 787-8 grounded for a few months, which will be used for this expansion.

Will you book one of Air India’s new non-stop flights to fly to Hong Kong and Seoul?


  1. I think Air India seriously needs to consider the A321XLR going forward. It would be a game changing aircraft for them that would complement their 787s on thinner routes where they are unable to offer daily frequencies which is a major hindrance.
    It will also allow them to offer nonstop international flights from cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai to cities in North Asia and Europe.
    Destinations served by the XLR from Delhi could include Osaka, Guangzhou, Seoul (daily), Birmingham (daily), Madrid (Daily), Rome (daily), Milan (5 weekly), Copenhagen (5 weekly), Denpasar Bali (5 weekly).
    From Hyderabad/Chennai/Bangalore they could do London, Paris, Frankfurt and Tokyo.
    Moreover they can then focus the 787 fleet on higher capacity routes such as Singapore versus offering 3 weekly frequencies on sub optimal routes.

  2. I don’t think there is any publicly available evidence of co-ordination between Asiana and Air India regarding the Seoul route. Asiana is in financial trouble and dropped some other routes as well. It must have made sense for AI to make a move given the drop in capacity after Asiana’s withdrawal.

    It is a pity that Osaka Kansai is being dropped altogether. I know people who take this flight regularly. The DEL-KIX market is not small. In fact IIRC it was ~40,000 back in 2015. Perhaps yields are not so good, but that’s also because AI has been doing one-stop all these years.

    BOM-HKG is a welcome addition, but the schedule may be risky. A breakfast departure means the whole day is gone. On the other hand early AM slots are extremely difficult to get at HKG, and AI probably cannot afford to leave aircraft on the ground the whole day. (This is why the departure back to DEL is moving to morning hours.)

    It would be interesting to see whether seasoned international business travellers like Ajay would consider the AI for BOM-HKG

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