IndiGo to restart daily flights to China, Myanmar


Photo credit Twitter Nitin Purandare

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By Sanjay Singh

New Delhi, November 6: India’s leading carrier IndiGo would restart its daily flights from India to Guangzhou and Chengdu in China and Yangon in Myanmar from March 27 next year after airlines stopped servicing this route following the outbreak of Covid-19 in March 2020.

IndiGo’s call to restart these flights comes close to Air India, now-owned and operated by the Tata Group, bracing to boost its domestic and international operations by taking 30 more planes on lease. India and China c currently have no direct flights, and traders are taking chartered planes to visit the big Chinese trading centres to source their imports.

China’s stringent ‘Zero Civid Policy’ has forced connectivity disruptions, and the travelers avoiding China since the people affected with virus are being sent to far away camps put out on islands without basic amenities, while being kept in dark about their locations. Since April 2020, China turned its relations with India also hostile by unilaterally seeking to alter the status quo on the line of actual control in eastern Ladakh, and also provoked a skirmish in the Galwan Valley, which led to heavy casualty on the sides of the People’s Liberation Army of China.

Meanwhile, 12 flights currently operate every week on the India-Myanmar routes. Ten of these are operated by Myanmar Airways and two by Air India. IndiGo, which is India’s largest carrier, currently operates 1,092 international flights per week between India and 22 foreign cities, according to aviation analytics company Cirium.

IndiGo used to operate daily flights on the Delhi-Chengdu, Kolkata-Guangzhou and Kolkata-Yangon routes till early 2020. The airline had stopped operating them on March 23, 2020, when the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended all scheduled international flights due to the Covid-19 outbreak. India resumed scheduled international flights on March 27 this year. According to industry sources, flights on the Delhi-Chengdu, Kolkata-Guangzhou and Kolkata-Yangon routes will resume from March next year as demand for these services has finally returned. The airline has already started selling tickets for these flights on its website and on online travel portals.

Flights on the Delhi-Chengdu, Kolkata-Guangzhou and Kolkata-Yangon routes take approximately 285 minutes, 225 minutes and 115 minutes, respectively. Therefore, IndiGo is planning to deploy A320neo planes on these routes as before, the airline’s executives said. IndiGo currently commands around 60 per cent share of the domestic passenger market. With the revamped Jet Airways planning to restart operations and new entrant Akasa Air adding one new aircraft every two weeks, competition on domestic routes is only going to increase. So, IndiGo believes that its next phase of growth is primarily going to come from international expansion.

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