In this year’s winter schedule, Indigo will have the largest number of domestic flights among Indian airlines, with a total of 13,119 flights each week – a 30% increase from a year earlier.
Amid rising air traffic demand, Indian airlines are gearing up to operate a total of 23,732 weekly flights in the upcoming winter schedule. This marks an 8% increase compared to the same period last year, and Indian aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given its approval for this schedule, which will be effective from October 29 to March 30.
Go First’s Collapse and a Shrinking SpiceJet: Go First, which temporarily suspended its operations on May 3 and is currently undergoing insolvency resolution proceedings, will not be operating any flights during this winter schedule.
SpiceJet has a schedule of 2,132 weekly domestic departures this winter as opposed to 2,240 this summer and 3,193 last winter.
New Airports: The DGCA has stated that the winter schedule for 2023 encompasses 23,732 weekly departures to and from 118 airports. Of these airports, nine new ones are being introduced — Bhatinda, Jaisalmer, Ludhiana, Nanded, Shivamogga, Salem, Utkela, Hindon, and Ziro.
Air India Group: In the latest winter schedule, Air India is also increasing its weekly flights by 19%, totaling 2,367. Air India Express and AirAsia India, now known as AIX Connect, will jointly operate 1,940 weekly flights in this year’s winter schedule. Vistara, on the other hand, is set to operate 1,902 flights every week during the winter schedule.
The Air India Group, which includes Air India, Air India Express, AirAsia India and Vistara, will operate a total of 6,209 weekly flights during the upcoming winter schedule.
Ixigo Partners with Fintech Startup Simpl
Ixigo has announced a partnership with fintech startup Simpl to offer a seamless “one-tap booking experience” for travel options on its platforms.
What Is The Partnership About? As part of this partnership, travelers will be able to avail a “streamlined and user-friendly booking process” across flights, trains, buses, and hotels on Ixigo and ConfirmTkt with Simpl’s “1-Tap Checkout” option, a release stated.
The Timing: As India witnesses a significant uptick in travel during the festive season people tend to increase their travel to their hometowns, pilgrimage sites, and tourist destinations. And apart from a variety of options and affordability, these travelers are looking for convenience in bookings, the two companies said in a release.
Domestic Travel Boost: Domestic travel in India has surpassed its pre-Covid levels as of this fiscal year and is expected to remain one of the fastest-growing categories in online commerce this year.
Travel has experienced remarkable growth within Simpl, with transaction volumes increasing nearly five-fold in the past two years. The fintech company said this serves as clear evidence of the expanding customer acceptance of Simpl’s checkout options.
“Through this (Ixigo) partnership, we are also fortifying our position in one of our fastest-growing sectors — the travel segment,” Nitya Sharma, founder and CEO of Simpl, said.
Canada Suspends Visa Consular Services in India, Except Delhi
Canada has suspended its visa and consular services in all locations across India, with the exception of Delhi. Previously, these services were available in Chandigarh, Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru.
Last month India suspended the issuance of visas to Canadian citizens “until further notice.”
Why Suspend Services? Canada has also made the decision to recall 41 diplomats from India due to an ongoing dispute between the two countries. Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly explained that this move was prompted by India’s announcement to revoke diplomatic immunities for all but 21 Canadian diplomats and their dependents in Delhi.
Confirming the withdrawal of diplomats, Joly expressed, “India’s decision will impact the levels of services to consulates in both countries. Unfortunately, we have to put a pause on all in-person services in our Consulates in Chandigarh, in Mumbai and in Bangalore.”
Visa Services Won’t Be Affected: However, visa services provider VFS Global clarified that its Canada-centric visa application centres will remain open in 10 Indian cities.
“Please note that our Canada visa application centres across 10 Indian cities continue to operate normally, as instructed by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC),” VFS said ina statement.
Emirates Debuts Premium Economy in India
Emirates has launched its Premium Economy offering in India from Mumbai and Bengaluru. The new cabin class will debut on Emirates’ A380 flights later this month. Emirates will be the first Middle East carrier offering this service in Mumbai.
Talking about the ongoing surge in travel across its network, Emirates said it plans to incorporate Premium Economy cabins across a growing number of aircraft and hopes to extend this option on more routes.
As the roll out of the retrofitted and enhanced Emirates A380s featuring a four-class configuration picks up pace, Premium Economy will be deployed on flights to more global destinations, the airline said.
“In line with the demand we have seen on the ten routes where the product is already available, we anticipate it will be highly-popular in India as well,” Mohammad Sarhan, Emirates’ vice president for India and Nepal said.
India Operations: Emirates currently flies out of nine cities across India, including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Thiruvananthapuram.
Ayodhya’s INR 1.3 Billion Tourism Facilitation Centre
The Government of Uttar Pradesh has allocated INR 1.3 billion ($16 million) for the establishment of a “tourism facilitation center” in Ayodhya.
What’s a Tourism Facilitation Centre? The center would be equipped with various amenities such as a tourism office, art and crafts center, food court, amphitheater, parking, dormitory, and a shopping complex.
Revenue Generation and Job Creation: Initial analysis by myATITHI.global, a platform dedicated to micro, small, and medium enterprises in the hospitality, tourism, and travel sector, suggests that this move could result in substantial state revenue generation and the creation of numerous job opportunities.
Religious Tourism: Ayodhya is a religious tourism destination in India. Calling spiritual tourism a key market, the Indian government had noted that religious tourism accounted for 13% of the country’s total tourism revenue in 2022. Around 1,433 million domestic tourists visited pilgrimage sites in the country, generating more than INR 1345 billion ($17 billion) in revenue.
Air India Launches Singapore-Bengaluru Direct
Air India has launched a non-stop service between Bengaluru and Singapore.
Details: Operated with an Airbus A321 aircraft, with a two-class configuration of 170 Economy and 12 Business Class seats, the service will operate four days a week on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
Air India’s Singapore Frequency: Air India has also enhanced the frequency from Mumbai to Singapore from seven flights a week to 13 flights a week. With the increased frequency and commencement of service from Bengaluru, Air India is currently operating a total of 38 non-stop flights to Singapore per week from Delhi (14 flights), Mumbai (13 flights), Chennai (7 flights) and Bengaluru (4 flights).
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