In a bid to try and wrest back some of the traffic being lost to foreign carriers, India’s national carrier Air India will introduce a daily hub and spoke flight from the southern Indian cities of Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kochi to Delhi with effect from October 31, 2010, to connect its non-stop north America flights to New York, Chicago, and Toronto.
This announcement is also an indirect confirmation that the mega Terminal 3 or T3 at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport is finally coming to grips with its many teething troubles and will commence domestic operations next month.
Air India has scheduled outbound flights to New York JFK, Chicago O’Hare, Toronto Pearson, around midnight.
- AI 101 departs Delhi T3 at 00:40 and arrives New York at 06:45
- AI 127 departs Delhi T3 at 01:05 and arrives Chicago at 07:00
- AI 187 departs Delhi T3 at 01:25 and arrives Toronto at 07:45
The domestic connections outbound
AI 643 departs Chennai 20:10 and arrives Delhi 23:05
AI 623 departs Bangalore 20:10 and arrives Delhi 22:45
AI 127 departs Hyderabad 21:35 and arrives Delhi 23:40
AI 693 departs Kochi 19:35 and arrives Delhi 22:45
Air India’s daily code-share flights to Zurich and Vienna and thrice-weekly flights to Moscow, will also be connected via these flights, but with three and half hours transit time at Delhi. Passengers will have to take earlier flights to connect to the carrier’s four weekly non-stops to Tokyo Narita.
On the inbound the New York flight arrives Delhi at 16:45 and the Chicago flight arrives at 17:00. There are matching flights back with a transit time of about 3~3.5 hours at Delhi.
- AI 642 departs Delhi 20:15 arrives Chennai 22:45
- AI 622 departs Delhi 20:10 arrive Bangalore 23:05
- AI 126 departs Delhi 18:30 arrives Hyderabad 20:35
- AI 692 departs Delhi 19:45 arrives Kochi 22:55
The Toronto flight arrives at Delhi at 11:25 and passengers will use earlier flights to the southern cities.
Air India is finally building on a hub that leverages the integrated terminal 3 at Delhi. An Air India spokesman confirmed that the planned Delhi-Melbourne flight will also have timings to maximise domestic connections, though it is hard to see passengers from southern India flying so far north to connect; but then, the maximum traffic from India to Australia is from the northern hinterlands.
The spokesman also confirmed that Air India has no plans to reduce its operational and maintenance presence in Mumbai and that is not good news for airport operator MIAL who would love to get the vacated space of the Air India hangars at Kalina.