Flight Movement to and from Mumbai are not expected to witness substantial delays or major increase in fares after all Indian airlines decided to avoid the Iran air space following geopolitical tensions between the US and Iran.
According to Sharat Dhall, chief operating officer (B2C) of yatra.com, “Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) announcement, made after consultation with all Indian carriers, to avoid the affected part of Iranian air space is likely to have only a slight impact on both schedules and prices.” Dhall said Air India and Indigo flights to locations like Saudi Arabia, Europe and US, will have to take a slightly longer route. “However, this impact is limited and alternate routes are being decided,” he said.
William Boulter, chief operating officer of Indigo Airlines, told The Indian Express that no diversion for any flight to and from Mumbai will be needed. “The only flight to be affected is the Istanbul-Delhi sector, so the impact on Indigo’s operation is very manageable,” he said. He added fuel consumption will only increase if diversion is required. Air India’s Jeddah-Mumbai flight is expected to be delayed by 30 minutes, while SpiceJet will see no impact on its flights.
Last week, an unmanned US drone was downed in Iranian air space following which US Federation Aviation Administration was the first to bar its airlines from flying over the region. On June 22, DGCA announced that Indian carriers will avoid the Iran airspace for passenger safety. According to officials from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, while there are few Indian carriers flying over the Iranian air space, most common airlines are KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, British Airways, Swiss Air. “Over 40 flights per week from Mumbai fly over the Iran air space,” the official said.
British Airways, which has a Mumbai-New York flight, has already diverted its flights from Strait of Hormuz, and Royal Dutch Airlines and Lufthansa, which also offer Mumbai-New York flights, will soon divert their route.
With about 50 days left for Haj in Saudi Arabia, western neighbour of Iran, pilgrims are expected to leave for Mecca in a fortnight. Most pilgrims take the Saudi Arabia airlines to travel for Haj.
While Saudi Arabia’s airline has also diverted all its flights from Iran air space, the diversion is yet to impact fares.
“The new route that air carriers are likely to take now will be closer to Saudi Arabia and Muscat and that may cause delay by a few minutes. We will have to wait and watch if there is any shift in the current pattern due to the ongoing state of affairs,” Anand Menon, brand leader of Travel Tours from FCM Travel Solutions, said. He said there was no change in consumer bookings yet.