The next few months will see a spate of foreign carriers commencing operations from Bangalore.
As already reported, Qatar Airways with its “best economy class in the world” will commence operations on February 23 using an Airbus A320 for the first five months. Subsequently, depending on the success of the Emirate’s negotiations on increase in the bi-laterals, the airline will move to a wide body. Qatar Airway’s timings of around 04:00 in the morning, will compete head-on with fellow Emirati carrier Emirates.
There obviously is a close co-operation between Qatar and Gulf Air. The latter withdrew its recently re-introduced services on January 7, after only 2 months of operations.
Air China will commence a twice a week service between Bangalore and Chengdu using a Boeing 757 very soon.
Malaysian low cost carrier Air Asia will commence services between Bangalore and Kuala Lumpur using an Airbus A320, tentatively on May 4th. Air Asia was originally scheduled to commence in March, but has postponed their commencement twice.
FedEx will commence cargo services using their MD-11F freighter soon. It is ironic that DHL which has a major cargo terminal and integration centre at Bangalore airport does not fly their freighters to Bangalore.
Sources indicate that Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways has just obtained permission from the Ministry of Civil Aviation to commence passenger services to Bangalore. The airline already operates its ‘Crystal Cargo’ Airbus A300 freighters to Bangalore. Since there is no increase in the bi-lateral capacity, just like Qatar, Etihad will trim its capacities to existing stations which will be transferred to commence service from Bangalore. Etihad is known for the aggressiveness, and we can expect a quick translation of the permission into flights.
Unfortunately for us spotters all these flights will operate in the night.