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Last Updated : Dec 09, 2019 04:01 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

International airlines make a beeline for Indian skies

India's growing market, and Jet's absence, is pulling these airlines to start services to Indian destinations.

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It has been a busy week for international airlines in India.

On December 9, Vistara signed a code share agreement with German carrier Lufthansa.  Two days earlier, on December 7, United Airlines, the third largest carrier in the world, started non-stop services between Delhi and San Francisco.

Later that day, VietJet Air - Vietnam's low cost airline - launched first direct flight between Hanoi and New Delhi.

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The end of the year will also see Delta Air Lines, another American aviation major, restart its non-stop flight between Mumbai and New York after a decade.

According to a report by CNBC-TV18, apart from Vietjet, six more new international airlines will launch services to India this winter. The other five include Air Tanzania, Arkia Israeli Airlines, Azerbaijan Airlines, Lot Polish, Nok Air, Nok Scoot Air

It's not that earlier part of the year was any less hectic. While Virgin Atlantic relaunched its service between Mumbai and London, Qatar Airways signed a code share agreement with IndiGo, giving  the former greater access to the Indian aviation market. Not to talk about the buzz around Emirates, which signed a codeshare agreement with SpiceJet.

Lufthansa's George Ettiyil sums up the attraction overseas airlines have for India. "By teaming up with Vistara we will strengthen and expand our position as the leading and most popular European airline in India – a country all set to become the third-largest aviation market in just a few years’ time," said the senior director sales for the Lufthansa Group Airlines in South Asia.

The Jet Airways impact

There is another reason that is pulling these international airlines to the Indian market? It's the Jet Airways impact.

Ever since the airline suspended its operations in April, Jet Airways has left behind a huge space. The Naresh Goyal-founded airline was the largest player in the international traffic segment. While its absence meant that fares rocketed, it was also an opportunity for airlines to get the pie Jet had left behind.

Domestic airlines, including IndiGo and SpiceJet have made the most of it. But their expansion is limited to short and medium haul destinations, as their fleet doesn't include planes that can fly to London or New York. Thus the most sought out market for these two has been the Middle East.

That left the long haul routes to the international airlines.

The opportunity main remain for a while, with Jet insolvency process already delayed. Only one bidder, the Synergy Group, remains and it has to submit a resolution plan by December 16.

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First Published on Dec 9, 2019 04:01 pm
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