India's state owned carrier Air India has got the nod of the country's Ministry of Civil Aviation for flying a bunch of new international routes.
For the first time, Air India has been assigned rights to fly on the following international routes:
* Delhi-Rome-Madrid/ Barcelona
* Delhi-Sydney/ Melbourne
* Mumbai-Al Najaf (Iraq)
There's no indication yet when Air India will take advantage of the approvals and commence operations on these new routes.
We expect Air India will announce schedules for the new routes soon after it receives clearances from the destination countries.
Besides Air India, the Government of India has alloted new international traffic rights to two private airlines Jet Airways and Spicejet.
Jet Airways can now fly on the following routes:
* Mumbai-Ho Chi Minh City
Spicejet has received the go-ahead for the following new routes:
* Lucknow- Al Najaf (Iraq)
* Varanasi- Al Najaf (Iraq)
* Delhi-Ho Chi Minh City
More International Flights
Overall, the Indian government has boosted the number of international traffic rights.
International services per week will go up from 1,074 currently to 1,695 by the end of next year (i.e. winter 2013).
India's Ministry of Civil Aviation expects the new allocations will boost the country's carriers and spur growth of the Indian civil aviation sector by improving connectivity of Indian cities to international destinations.
There is also a hope that increasing the number of international flights will enhance competitiveness among airlines and bring down fares.
The government of India intends to hold negotiations with a bunch of countries including Singapore, Thailand, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iraq, Macao and Afghanistan for additional traffic rights.