India’s Newest Airline Takes Off – India Report

Skift Take

Regional air connectivity is a major focus for the India government. Amid this, the commencement of operations by Fly91 highlights the vibrant aviation landscape in the country.

The first commercial flight of India’s newest airline, Fly91, took off on Monday. The Goa-based airline’s maiden flight was on the Goa-Bengaluru route. Its next flight is scheduled for Tuesday between Goa and Hyderabad. 

Fly91 began with an aim to revolutionize the regional aviation landscape in the country. In an earlier interview with Skift, managing director and CEO Manoj Chacko said that Fly91 would serve regional airports in India as these are underserved despite accounting for a 30% share in domestic passengers.

Poised for growth: Fly91 is looking to have about 350 members in its staff by the time it completes one year of operations. It is also looking at increasing its current two-aircraft fleet, with the intention of adding four planes within the first year. 

The airline does not currently need to raise funds as it is getting the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under central government’s regional connectivity scheme UDAN, Chacko said. For the regional sectors that Fly91 has secured, if it operates on a full schedule, then it will get an annual Viability Gap Funding of INR 2 billion ($24 million).

IndiGo Strengthens International Network 

India’s largest airline IndiGo is strengthening its international network. The airline, which already holds nearly 60% of the domestic market share, is set to commence direct flights between Mumbai and Colombo, Sri Lanka starting next month. 

The budget carrier has also announced 11 new codeshare routes in Australia starting March 31. This is as part of IndiGo’s partnership with Australia’s national carrier Qantas Airways. 

The airline has been aggressively expanding its international operations. In an interview with Indian media, CEO Pieter Elbers said that the company’s strategy is to turn IndiGo into a global airline. Last year, the airline ordered 500 Airbus A320neo family aircraft as part of its expansion plans.

ITC Hotels Enters Northeast With Welcomhotel Gangtok

ITC Hotels has announced its entry into the northeast region of India. This has come as the company has signed a 60-room Welcomhotel in Gangtok. The company has been actively working towards growing its presence in east and northeast India, said CEO Anil Chadha on the occasion. 

The Indian hospitality company is seeking to increase its room inventory by 50% over the next five years, with about 6,000 rooms across 70 hotels. This would continue the company’s momentum over the past two years. Between January 2022 and December 2023, ITC Hotels opened 22 hotels. 

Hospitality Hotspot: Radisson, Oyo Launch Properties in Odisha

Radisson Hotel Group has signed its first hotel in Odisha with Pramod Lands End Resort. The 100-room property is a part of Radisson Individuals brand, and is set to open this year. The company has been looking to expand to lesser explored regions. According to Davashish Srivastava, senior director – development, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group, the move is in line with that larger strategy. 

Domestic hospitality technology company Oyo has also launched its first homestay in the state. For this, the company has partnered with Odisha Skill Development Authority (OSDA). The partnership aims to equip locals with skills and training to manage homestays, undertake entrepreneurship, and create additional income. 

Singapore Airlines Unveils Revamped Premium Economy Class In-Flight Experience

Singapore Airlines has improved and expanded the selection of food and beverage options in its Premium Economy Class. Additionally, it has also added a new amenity kit to its offerings. The changes, which will come into effect from March 31, are a part of the airline’s move to enhance the in-flight experience for passengers traveling in this category of seats. 

This is the first revamp of the cabin class by the airline since the Premium Economy Class was introduced about nine years ago. Yeoh Phee Teik, senior vice president customer experience, Singapore Airlines has said that the cabin class has become popular with its travelers due to the heightened comfort, extra space, and additional amenities. 

Six Heritage Sites in Madhya Pradesh Included in Tentative UNESCO List

As many as six heritage sites located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have been included in the tentative UNESCO World Heritage list. These sites include the Gwalior Fort, Bhojeshwar Mahadev Temple, Rock Art Sites of Chambal Valley, Historical Group of Dhamnar, Khooni Bhandara in Burhanpur, and God Memorial of Ramnagar. The information was shared by chief minister Mohan Yadav. 

There are currently 42 Indian sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Of these, three are located in Madhya Pradesh. These are the Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, and Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka. Efforts to include underground water structure Khooni Bhandara in the list have been ongoing since 2010. 

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