Air India operated its first flight to Agra earlier today.
Following a circuitous route (Delhi-Varanasi-Agra), this flight has a schedule that leaves much to be desired.
|Image courtesy gcmap.com|
The flight will be operated with an all-economy class Airbus A320 aircraft, three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Flight AI 406 departs New Delhi at 1245, arrives Varanasi at 1400. Departs Varanasi at 1435 arrives Agra at 1530. Departs Agra at 1605 and arrives Khajuraho at 1645 hours. One the return flight AI 405 will leave Khajuraho at 1720 arrive in Varanasi at 1810 hours. Depart from Varanasi at 1845 and reach Delhi at 1955.
Only a politician who is not answerable for the route profitability can have thought up of such a convoluted routing.
One would expect at least one of the network planners at Air India to advise their political masters that no passenger in his or her right mind will take a flight of 2h45m when they can take a train between New Delhi and Agra and reach in 1h50m.
One can drive from Delhi to Agra on the new Yamuna Expressway and reach in a lesser time.
And all this at 12 Noon?!?!?! Which tourist wants to waste their whole day?
Unfortunately the connectivity to Khajuraho is poor at best, and both Air India and Jet Airways who serve this city, fleece their passengers mercilessly. 30 day advance purchase New Delhi Khajuraho roundtrip fares start from Rs. 16,415 quickly shooting up to Rs. 22,487. In comparison a roundtrip flight across the country from New Delhi to Bangalore for the same travel dates will cost Rs. 10,200.
And then we wonder, why India received less half the number of foreign tourists compared to a small country like Thailand.