Emirates is hoping to massively expand its operations in India by adding 50,000 seats to and from the country every single week. The Dubai-based carrier’s ambitious expansion plans are, however, reliant on the United Arab Emirates and India reaching a new bilateral air services agreement.
Under the existing air agreement, Emirates and its low-cost peer, flydubai already offer 66,000 seats per week between a slew of Indian cities and Dubai, but they have now reached the cap and are prevented from adding any additional flights.
Talks are, however, already underway in a bid to help Emirates and flydubai expand their reach in India. In return, Delhi is hoping to secure more flying flights for Indian-based airlines to connect Dubai.
At present, Emirates operates around 170 flights per week to a number of India’s largest cities, but the carrier wants to expand into the next tier of cities, such as Amritsar and even Goa.
“We are working hard with the civil aviation (authorities) in India and the UAE to try to increase the bilaterals for airlines of both sides and passengers to benefit,” Emirates’ vice president for India and Nepal, Mohammad Sarhan, told the Times of India.
Emirates has managed to become such a huge force in India by successfully connecting the country to Africa, Europe and North America through its Dubai hub – a position that flag carrier Air India wants to disrupt with its own massive expansion plans.
Recently acquired by the Tata conglomerate, Air India is planning to add 540 new aircraft in the coming years – the majority of which will be used to expand the airline’s existing fleet in order to take on Persian Gulf rivals like Emirates and Qatar Airways.
Not that Sarhan is concerned.
“We are a dynamic airline and always keep an eye on our competitors,” Sarhan told the Times of India. “At the moment we do not see anything to worry about,” Sarhan continued.
“We operate in several markets that have strong airlines. There are always some consumers who like to go nonstop and others who want to take break to stretch their legs. We always differentiate ourselves on our product and services. It’s not just about a direct flight but also the product. We welcome healthy competition,” of India.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.