In an attempt to retrieve its international schedule,Air India is set to resume flights to Shanghai,Tokyo and Hong Kong from next week after a disruption of over a month,said sources.
The national carrier,whose international operations suffered due to strike by 400-odd pilots,would be resuming two weekly Delhi- Shanghai flights from June 24,Delhi-Tokyo from June 26 and a daily flight from July 6. These flights would restore some of its international operations,even as those to Osaka,Seoul and Toronto remain disrupted till month-end.
Hong Kong served as an important destination on the network as the airline provided onward connectivity to Seoul and Osaka. We generally have a huge demand on these two routes via Hong Kong as most of the passengers travel on account of business or work, said a senior airline official. The airline was operating daily flights to only Singapore and Bangkok on its eastern sector in the curtailed schedule.
These flights would be operated with Airbus fleet flown by the pilots from erstwhile Indian Airlines,replacing the Boeing fleet flown by the striking pilots. The airline hopes to stem some of its revenue losses which amounted to Rs 10 crore a day due to the strike.
In wake of the pilot strike,the airline had to curtail its operations,withdrawing the non-stop flights to New York,Chicago,Newark and Toronto. On the North American sector,the airline introduced flights with a stopover in either Paris or Frankfurt.
The non-stop flights to the US are very popular with our customers. This route had been nurtured over a long period of time,and its a pity that we had to withdraw them due to the strike during the peak holiday season, said the official. The airline has been maintaining the current international flying schedule with 120 executive pilots who recently expressed unhappiness over the hectic schedules and the impasse between the government and the striking pilots.