The Government of India has granted Kingfisher Airlines traffic rights to operate on seven new international routes, including the highly prized New Delhi – London which was strongly objected to, by the national carrier, Air India.
The new international routes for which traffic rights have been granted are:
- New Delhi – London
- New Delhi – Hong Kong
- New Delhi – Bangkok
- New Delhi – Dubai
- Mumbai – Colombo
- Mumbai – Bangkok
- Mumbai – Dubai
The Delhi London Heathrow route has been awaited for a long time by Kingfisher which has the valuable Heathrow slot vacant since the suspension of the Bangalore flight on September 15th last year.
With a large north Indian specifically, Punjabi diaspora, demand on flights between Delhi and London is always high. How Kingfisher leverages its services to near Asian destinations like Bangkok, Colombo, Dhaka and Singapore, along with the upcoming integrated T3 terminal at New Delhi’s IGI airport to generate additional demand will also play a vital role in ensuring profitable operations of the London flights.
While Kingfisher has all the pieces already in place to ramp up and commence the Delhi London flight very quickly, insiders suggest that the flight may commence only in the Summer 2010 schedule on March 28th in order to give time for the flight to be made available and gain popularity in the GDS. Most of the Easter vacation travel planes of passengers in both the UK and India have already been made and purchased.
The flights on the New Delhi – London and New Delhi – Hong Kong–New Delhi routes will be operated using an Airbus A330-200 aircraft while flights on the other routes will be operated using the Airbus A320 family of aircraft. This will also relieve some of the financial pressure on Kingfisher Airlines which can now deploy the A330 permanently parked at Bengaluru International Airport in to flight operations.
It will also be interesting to observe how Kingfisher will compete with its narrow body A320s against the behemoth Emirates with their wide body multiple flight schedule on the Dubai routes. Kingfisher’s A320s are well equipped with IFE systems and a superior cabin service. Emirates is known for inconsistent cabin service especially between India and Dubai.
The start dates for the launch of flights on these new routes will be announced at a later date.