Air India will introduce 20 additional weekly flights to Birmingham, London, and San Francisco in the next three months as the Tatas-owned airline seeks to strengthen its international presence. With 5 additional flights a week to Birmingham, 9 additional flights to London, and 6 additional flights a week to San Francisco, more than 5,000 additional seats will be offered every week to customers, the carrier said in a release on Friday.
The airline’s current schedule of 34 flights every week to the UK will now go up to 48 flights. Birmingham will receive extra five flights per week, three from Delhi and two additional from Amritsar. London will receive nine additional weekly flights, of which, five are from Mumbai, three from Delhi, and one from Ahmedabad.
Together, seven Indian cities will now have non-stop Air India flights to the UK’s capital, the release said. Air India’s flights to the US will increase from 34 to 40 per week.
It will connect Mumbai with San Francisco with a triweekly service, and reinstate a triweekly Bengaluru operation. With the additions, Air India will have 16 weekly flights from the current 10, with non-stop service from Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. According to the release, the additional flights, which will be introduced in a phased manner from October to December this year, are part of the airline’s ongoing endeavor to reclaim its position as a leader on the international aviation map.
Air India CEO & MD Campbell Wilson said as the airline reinvents itself under the Vihaan.AI transformation program, adding frequency and improving connectivity from major Indian cities to more international destinations is a significant focus. “This sizeable frequency increase to the US and the UK, as well as the addition of new city pairs and improved aircraft cabin interiors, comes just 10 months after Air India’s acquisition by the Tata Group. It is a clear signal of our intent, and an early step towards a much bigger aspiration," he said.
In addition to leasing new aircraft, Air India has been working to restore existing narrow-body and wide-body aircraft to the operating fleet. Under the ‘Vihaan.AI’, a comprehensive transformation plan with a detailed road map for the next five years that was unveiled in September, the airline aims to have a domestic market share of 30 percent and significantly strengthen its international operations in the next five years. Loss-making Air India along with Air India Express was taken over by Tatas in January this year.