Air India plans 20 new flights to the UK and US

Air India, the national carrier of India, continues its growth trajectory: the airline has announced that it will increase the number of flights to the United States and the United Kingdom over the next 15 months. Let’s take a closer look at the growth of the planned network of Indian airlines.

20 additional US and UK services

Air India, owned by the Tata Group, is expanding its network. In a statement issued today, the airline announced its intention to strengthen its connection with the United States and the United Kingdom.

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The network expansion includes an additional 20 new weekly flights from various Indian cities to London (LHR), Birmingham (BHX) in the UK, and San Francisco (SFO) in the US. The additional flights will be added to the existing airline network in phases between October and December 2022.

Transformational roadmap of Air India, Vihan. AI is focusing on aggressive expansion of the network in the UK and US. Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

The additional 20 flights to the UK and US will be split as follows:

  • Five additional weekly flights to Birmingham (Bahrain)
  • Nine additional flights to London (LHR)
  • Six additional weekly flights to San Francisco (SFO)

Network optimized in detail

Once the new additional flights go live, Air India will offer a total of 48 weekly flights to the UK, up from the current 34. The additional five weekly flights to Birmingham will be split between Delhi (3) and Amritsar (2). Mumbai will see the strongest increase in frequencies to London (5), followed by Delhi (3) and Ahmedabad (1). Air India’s enhanced connection to London means that seven Indian cities will have a direct connection to the British capital.

The improved network to the UK and US will result in Air India adding 5,000 weekly seats to the two countries. Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

On the other hand, it will increase Air India flights to the US to 40 flights per week, instead of the 34 flights currently operated by the airline. Air India has focused on San Francisco, which the national airline will serve with a third weekly flight from Mumbai. Moreover, three weekly frequencies from Bangalore will be replayed as well. With its new network in place, Air India will offer a total of 16 weekly flights to San Francisco, up from 10 currently, from the cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

road current frequency new frequency effective
Amritsar (ATQ) – Birmingham (Bahrain) 1 3 November 17
Delhi (DEL) – Birmingham (Bahrain) 0 3 November 16
Delhi (DEL) – London (LHR) 11 14 October 30
Mumbai (BOM) – London (LHR) 7 12 October 30
Ahmedabad (AMD) – London (LHR) 3 4 October 30
Mumbai (BOM) – San Francisco (SFO) 0 3 December 2
Bangalore (BLR) – San Francisco (SFO) 0 3 December 15

In terms of capacity, the improved network to the UK and US will lead Air India to offer an additional 5,000 weekly seats from India to the two countries. In addition, the improved connectivity translates into greater comfort for the carrier’s passengers. Wilson Campbell, CEO and Managing Director, Air India, commented on the expanded network by saying:

As Air India reinvents itself (…), adding frequency and improving connectivity from major Indian cities to more international destinations is a big focus.

Air India Transformation

India’s national airline is witnessing a breakthrough in its history. In fact, the airline’s new management has designed a transformational roadmap, called Vihaan.AI, with the primary goal of reinventing the airline and bringing it back as a world-class global player in the aviation industry.

The time scope of Vihaan.AI spans five years, and is built around specific goals. First, the restructuring plan focuses on the explosive growth of the network and fleet. In this way, Air India must enhance its customers’ offerings by improving reliability and on-time performance. In addition, the new management of Air India plans to lead the airline to a leadership position in technology, sustainability and innovation. Last but not least, the new management aims to achieve robust operations, commercial efficiency and profitability.

Air India fleet expansion

To reach its primary objective of significantly increasing its network, Air India has invested heavily in the renewal and expansion of its fleet. On September 12, the airline announced the lease of 30 aircraft. The airlines signed leases and letters of intent (LOI) for 25 narrow body and five wide body, increasing the company’s fleet by 25%. In addition, Air India recently reintroduced 16 long-ground, ten narrow and six wide-body aircraft.

Air India’s fleet renewal plans will increase the airline’s fleet by 25% by adding 25 narrow hulls and five wide hulls. In addition, the carrier’s stockpiled aircraft will also be gradually reintroduced. Photo: Getty Images

The chartered aircraft will join the fleet from December 2022 and include:

The five Boeing 777-200LR leased aircraft were a key acquisition of the Indian Airlines fleet, without which it would not have been possible to expand the network to the United States and the United Kingdom. In addition, the chartered widebody has brought about a significant change in the offer of Air India customers: Air India will offer a premium economy cabin on long-haul flights for the first time in its history.

Air India has invested heavily in the Airbus A320neo, and the airline has leased 21 of them. Photo: Airbus

Wilson Campbell commented on the expansion of the carrier’s fleet by saying:

After a long period without significant growth, Air India is pleased to resume expanding its fleet and global footprint. These new aircraft, along with existing aircraft being returned to service, meet the immediate need for more capacity and connectivity, and represent a powerful step forward.

Air India currently has a fleet of 70 narrowbody, of which 54 are in service; The remaining 16 aircraft will gradually return to service by the first months of 2023. The company’s extensive fleet includes 43 aircraft, of which 33 are in operation; Similar to the narrow body fleet, the grounded wide bodies will return to service early next year.

Do you think Air India is on the path to asserting its role as a global player? Tell us in the comments section below!

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