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New flights and routes: Air India, Jet Airways see gains in US travel curbs

Air India is planning new flights and publicising that flyers can use laptops and devices on board

Arindam Majumder & Aneesh Phadnis  |  New Delhi/Mumbai 

Air India

The on large by western countries has provided for an opportunity for and in India to reclaim traffic that has over the years moved to Gulf and their hubs in West Asia.

Air India, the only Indian carrier to have a direct flight to the US, is planning new flights, apart from publicising that flyers can use laptops and devices on board. International is advertising that passengers on its US-bound flights can carry laptops and tablets.

“We will launch one more direct connection to the US, either Houston or Los Angeles. We are negotiating slots with airport operators,” Air India’s Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani told Business Standard.

The airline will use the 777-200 LR aircraft for this purpose. This will be after the launch of the Delhi-Washington service, which will begin in July.

A executive said the airline expected its occupancy to rise above 90 per cent as a result of the “This being the leisure season, our occupancy was healthy. Now, we expect a further improvement in load factor,” an source said.

has connectivity to the US via Europe through code-share partners Air France, and

Leading Gulf airlines Etihad, Emirates and Airways will be affected by the US because they carry the bulk of their passengers through hub in Dubai, and

The UK has followed the US ban, saying it too will immediately impose device restrictions, but it added flights from Tunisia and Lebanon to its list and excluded those from the UAE, Kuwait, and

According to aviation consultancy firm CAPA, the major Gulf carriers carried 49 per cent of US-bound passengers from India in 2015-16.

Frequent flyers said it was an ideal opportunity for Indian carriers and to reposition themselves.

ALSO READ: Emirates offers tablet, laptop handling service for US flights

“It would be ideal if mounts a direct flight to the US with a 777. What needs to do is improve its services and in-flight amenities,” said Ajay Awtaney, a writer of airline blog

A Jet Airways spokesperson refused to comment on the issue. Airways, which holds a substantial stake in Jet Airways, is affected by the ban.

An executive with International Airport Ltd said a surge in passengers on would be beneficial for the airport operator. “International transit passengers are good for airports, but primarily it is for the airlines to explore this opportunity. We as an operator will support them,” he said.

Rajeev Jain, chief executive officer of International Airport Ltd, said, “We will have to watch if there is a shift of traffic towards

Travel agents said this was an ideal time for travellers to book tickets on Gulf airlines. “The carriers affected by the ban may drop ticket prices to compensate for loss of traffic,” said Anil Punjabi, president of the Travel Agents’ Federation of India.


First Published: Fri, March 24 2017. 08:10 IST