It is no news anymore that the shutdown of Jet Airways has created tremendous stress for travellers, not just domestically but internationally as well. Locally, the DGCA farmed out slots of Jet Airways to other airlines, giving away over 450 of their slots to other airlines temporarily. It might just be permanent, given how things have panned out so far.
However, no one has yet figured out the tremendous stress this is causing in the international travel space. Fares are rising due to Jet Airways shut down since it used to feed a lot of India’s international traffic. Flights to Hong Kong, Singapore, Qatar, UAE, France, Netherlands, UK and so on are all primarily left to the home carriers of the other market, given that Indian airlines are flying smaller aircraft (180 seaters), and there is no premium capacity apart from Air India in these markets anymore.
Mounting international flights is a different ball game since no one can do it temporarily, at least from an Indian carrier perspective. The only new flights to have been added so far have been a new flight by British Airways, which will be a 4X weekly flight between Mumbai and London.
Now, Qatar Airways wants to step up to fill the gap in the international frequencies out of India. Today, Qatar Airways has officially sought to launch temporary flights between India and Doha, to ensure that the summer travel is not hampered to or from India. Qatar Airways’ temporary contingency plan, which has been formally submitted to Indian authorities, also comes in the light of the fact that flying options through neighbouring countries are no longer available due to the blockade imposed on Qatar on June 5, 2017.
Qatar Airways has suggested that they would like to make an additional number of seats available on specific high volume routes (Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore), but temporarily and without formal changes to the current weekly seat capacity entitlement established under the 2009 Qatar-India bilateral aviation framework.
Remember, Qatar Airways flies some of the best products in the market right now, such as the QSuites, and only has one flight each into Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi at the moment. So, if there are more flights coming in, this would definitely make things better for the Indian population at home and away. It would also make it possible to have more one-stop flights to Europe and the USA, thus relieving the pressure on fares a bit.
What do you think of Qatar Airways move to add more flights to India?