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Air India adds second daily Chennai-Singapore flights: competitve response to IndiGo

Earlier today, Air India announced that it was adding a second daily flight in the afternoon (complementing the existing overnight) between Chennai and Singapore utilizing a 279 seat Airbus A330-200 widebody aircraft in a 2 class configuration (24J/255Y). The move comes soon after low cost carrier IndiGo ended its flights from Mumbai to Singapore, and replaced them with flights from Chennai and Hyderabad to Singapore. Air India’s two flights are scheduled as follow:

AI346 MAA – SIN ~ 0045 – 0700 ~ 332 Daily
AI358 MAA – SIN ~ 1320 – 1955 ~ 332 Daily
AI347 SIN – MAA ~ 0820 – 0945 ~ 332 Daily
AI359 SIN – MAA ~ 2105 – 2230 ~ 332 Daily

Air India Flights 358 and 359 begin from 8th February onwards.

Meanwhile, IndiGo’s flights are timed as follow:

6E53 MAA – SIN ~ 2200 – 0450 ~ 320 Daily
6E54 SIN – MAA ~ 0550 – 0715 ~ 320 Daily

Interestingly, IndiGo’s flights are timed to depart earlier than Air India’s, barely qualifying as overnight flights – which are preferred in the Indian market. The early morning return is excellent for Singapore based travelers in terms of creating a full day of work in Chennai, though it is uncomfortably early. But IndiGo should be able to sustain this route solely on visiting family and relatives traffic (VFR), which Chennai has a huge base of travel to Singapore for. Interestingly though, Air India’s A330-200s have a very low unit cost (cost per available seat kilometer), which will allow them to price economy class seats competitively with IndiGo. This route has been co-dominated by Air India and Singapore Airlines for decades, and Air India is responding and protecting its “turf” in a manner of speaking.

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