Air India Continues to Build Delhi Hub; New Zealand Eyes China Tourists

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Air India continued has continued to flesh out its international network, with the addition of a non-stop service between Delhi and Amsterdam, while Air New Zealand highlights rebounding international capacity.

The flight will operate four-times-weekly with Boeing 787-8s with services commencing on 11 June, bringing Air India’s European network to eight destinations.

“With the launch of this new non-stop flight to Amsterdam, Air India adds further breadth to our long-haul network and more options for our customers,” says Air India chief executive Campbell Wilson.

“Together with the three other European routes started in recent months, and others to come, it supports our objective of establishing Delhi as a significant international hub.”

Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo has also announced a European move, placing its code on Turkish Airlines’ service to Edinburgh from 8 May. The addition of Scotland’s capital brings IndiGo’s European codeshares on Turkish to 33.

Asia-Pacific carriers have also worked to boost capacity. Garuda Indonesia announced that from 17 May it will commence a twice weekly service on the Jakarta-Shanghai route with Airbus A330-300s, adding to the Jakarta-Guangzhou service started in February.

Garuda president director general Irfan Setiaputra said that China is a key market, with 253,000 Chinese tourists expected to visit Indonesia in 2023.

In a company update, Air NZ chief executive Greg Foran says the carrier’s North American capacity is nearly back to pre-Covid levels. He adds that the carrier’s Auckland-New York route has performed well since its launch in September 2022.

An Air New Zealand 787-9 departs Sydney in 2020

Later this year, Air NZ and partner United Airlines will launch San Francisco-Christchurch and Los Angeles-Auckland services.

Air NZ adds that its Asia network has already 17% above pre-Covid levels. Singapore is a key hub, with onward connections to India and Europe.

Auckland International Airport has observed a sharp rebound in Chinese tourism to New Zealand. Scott Tasker, the airport’s chief customer officer, observes that while Chinese still travel in large tour groups, there are signs that Chinese visitors are now travelling more independently.

Overall seat capacity between China and New Zealand is now at 79% of pre-pandemic levels.

“We’ve now got Air New Zealand and China Eastern operating daily into Shanghai and China Southern flying daily into Guangzhou, with Air China just last week restarting its link with Beijing four times a week,” says Tasker.

“Once we add in Hainan Airlines with its twice a week service from next month, we’ll have 27 direct flights between Auckland and four major Chinese cities. The ease and simplicity of those direct flights helps get New Zealand on the radar of Chinese tourists.”

Malaysian start-up MyAirline also announced its first international destination. The A320 operator aims to launch twice-daily services on the Kuala Lumpur Bangkok route from the end of June, with the flights operating to both Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Bangkok Don Mueang Airports.

Also boosting its Southeast Asian network is South Korean low-cost carrier Jin Air. From 17 July to 10 September, it will operate a daily service on the Busan-Nha Trang route using 737-800s.

Source: flightglobal