Long-haul expansion: Air India plans 20 new flights to Great Britain and the USA

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Air India, India’s flagship airline, continues on its growth trajectory as the airline has announced plans to increase flights to the US and UK over the next 15 months. Let’s take a closer look at Air India’s planned network growth.

20 additional services to the US and UK

Air India, owned by the TATA Group, is working to expand its route network. In a statement released today, the airline has announced its intention to improve its connectivity with the US and UK.


The network expansion will see 20 new additional weekly flights from various Indian cities to London (LHR), Birmingham (BHX) in the UK and San Francisco (SFO) in the US. The additional flights will be gradually added to the airline’s current network between October and December 2022.

Air India’s Transformation Roadmap, Vihaan. AI focuses on robust network expansion in the UK and US. Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple flying

The 20 additional flights to the UK and US will be split as follows:

  • Five additional weekly flights to Birmingham (BHX)
  • Nine additional flights to London (LHR)
  • Six additional weekly flights to San Francisco (SFO)

The extended network in detail

Once the new additional flights are launched, Air India will offer a total of 48 weekly flights to the UK instead of the current 34. The five additional weekly flights to Birmingham will be split between Delhi (3) and Amritsar (2). . Mumbai will see the strongest increase in traffic after London (5), followed by Delhi (3) and Ahmedabad (1). Air India’s improved connection to London implies that seven Indian cities will have a direct connection to the British capital.

The expanded network to the UK and US will prompt Air India to add 5,000 weekly seats across the two countries. Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple flying

On the other hand, Air India flights to the US will be increased to 40 per week instead of the 34 the airline currently operates. Air India has focused on San Francisco, which the national carrier will serve with a third weekly flight from Mumbai. In addition, three weekly frequencies will also resume from Bangalore. With its new network, Air India will offer a total of 16 weekly flights from the cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru to San Francisco, instead of the current 10.

route Current frequency new frequency Effective
Amritsar (ATQ) – Birmingham (BHX) 1 3 Nov 17
New Delhi (DEL) – Birmingham (BHX) 0 3 Nov 16
Delhi (DEL) – London (LHR) 11 14 30 Oct
Mumbai (BOM) – London (LHR) 7 12 30 Oct
Ahmedabad (AMD) – London (LHR) 3 4 30 Oct
Mumbai (BOM) – San Francisco (SFO) 0 3 2 dec
Bangalore (BLR) – San Francisco (SFO) 0 3 15 dec

In terms of capacity, the expanded network to the UK and US will prompt Air India to offer an additional 5,000 weekly seats from India to the two countries. In addition, the improved connectivity means more convenience for the airline’s passengers. Commenting on the expanded network, Wilson Campbell, CEO and Managing Director of Air India said:

As Air India reinvents itself (…), increasing frequency and improving connectivity from major Indian cities to more international destinations is a key focus

The transformation of Air India

India’s national airline is experiencing a breakthrough in its history. In fact, the airline’s new management has drafted a transformation roadmap called Vihaan.AI, whose main goal is to reinvent the airline and bring it back to a world-class global player in the aviation industry.

Vihaan.AI has a five-year term and is structured around specific goals. First, the restructuring plan focuses on dramatic network and fleet expansion. In this way, Air India should enhance its customer offering by improving reliability and punctuality. In addition, Air India’s new management plans to lead the airline to a leadership position in technology, sustainability and innovation. Last but not least, the new management is aiming for robust operations, economic efficiency and profitability.

Air India fleet expansion

To achieve its primary goal of significantly expanding its network, Air India has invested heavily in refurbishing and expanding its fleet. On September 12, the airline announced the leasing of 30 aircraft. The airlines signed leases and letters of intent (LOI) for 25 narrowbody aircraft and five widebody aircraft, increasing the airline’s fleet by 25%. In addition, Air India recently reintroduced 16 long-haul aircraft, 10 narrow-body aircraft and 6 wide-body aircraft.

Air India’s fleet renewal plans will increase the airline’s fleet by 25% by adding 25 narrow-body aircraft and five wide-body aircraft. In addition, the airline’s stored aircraft will also be gradually reintroduced. Photo: Getty Images

The leased aircraft will join the fleet from December 2022 and include:

The five leased Boeing 777-200LRs were a key acquisition for Air India’s fleet, without which network expansion into the US and UK would not have been possible. In addition, the leased widebody aircraft will result in a significant change in Air India’s customer offering: Air India will, for the first time in its history, offer a premium economy cabin on long-haul flights.

Air India has invested heavily in the Airbus A320neo, of which the airline has leased 21. Photo: Airbus

Commenting on the airline’s fleet expansion, Wilson Campbell said:

After a long period without significant growth, Air India is pleased to once again expand its fleet and global presence. These new aircraft, along with existing aircraft returning to service, address an immediate need for more capacity and connectivity and mark a major step forward.

Air India currently has a fleet of 70 narrow body aircraft of which 54 are in service; The remaining 16 aircraft will be gradually returned to service by early 2023. The airline’s widebody fleet consists of 43 aircraft, of which 33 are in service. Much like the narrowbody fleet, the grounded widebody aircraft will return to service early next year.

Do you think Air India is on the way to confirming its role as a global player? Let us know in the comment section below!

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