Maharaja is back in Australia from August 30!

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By Neena Badhwar

Ravi Bodade, Manager, Air India did not realise when he came to Sydney that he will be under the spotlight after a long long time as many managers of Air India to Sydney came and went. Almost Nearly 16 years since 1997 when  India’s national airline ‘Air India’ shut its services to India and stopped flying. Due to huge corporate losses against competitive prices and services by Malaysian Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Singapore Airlines, Air India has been loosing out on the 200,000 passengers worth of business to India with Singapore Airlines holding major traffic share to the Indian subcontinent. The Centre for Aviation in an analysis said of the market: “India-Australia is a largely an untapped market with significant potential, given both the volume of trade, tourism and VFR traffic between the two nations, yet it remains without direct air service.”

Qantas tried to replace Air India by introducing direct flights but abandoned the route in May 2012.

TIDU talked to Ravi Bodade who said that the flights start from 30th of August, 2013 with first Air India flight starting from Delhi which on its inaugural flight will have VIP passengers in India’s Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, Minister Of Tourism, Dr K Chiranjeevi who will be the part of contingent on board. He added it may also include other special guests not yet confirmed who will be with them and some passengers and will be part of the of functions to launch and celebrate Maharajah’s return to the Australian skies.

While Ravi’s posting has created a euphoria with Air India’s return, its closure has always made people talk about its failure to capture the market as they have all curiously asked, ‘When is Air India coming back?’. Many have been disappointed with Air India previously due to run down planes on Australia-India route. Even if they were ready to fly Air India they were not happy with the service, the food and the rest.

Not any more.

Air India has been struggling to make a comeback  since 2010 but it needed aircrafts big enough to accommodate the nonstop service in both directions, says Ravi, “We have state of the art aircrafts Boing 787 and we have a whole fleet of them which will carry passengers to more than a dozen Indian cities. But the main one is a 7-day nonstop service with 4-days a week doing – ‘Delhi-Sydney-Melbourne –Delhi’ on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays; and the rest three days that is Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays it will be Delhi- Melbourne-Sydney-Delhi.”

“The planes we have are Boeing 787 Dreamliners which have full flat beds in Business Class and economy seats are quite comfortable with very good leg space,” says Ravi, adding, “Moreover Air India has always been known for excellent cabin service with variety of food and entertainment. Jain veg, Indian veg and non veg, continental, Kosher, Thai, Asian veg, Low salt, Baby meal and even diabetic meal and much more.”

About the fares, he says, “Air India is offering highly competitive rates at around $927 return to Delhi till the 30th of September. This flight easily connects to other 12 cities which include Mumbai, Ahemdabad, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Kolkatta, Chennai, Hyderabad, Trivendrum, Kozikode and Cochin. Fares to these cities is mariginally less and can range between $860 to $900. Also we have extra 9 cities that include Goa, Pune, Baroda, Jaipur, Udaipur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Coimbatore and vishakhapattnum for an extra $100 on top of the Delhi fare.”

In all Air India flies to 45 domestic cities in India and to major 6 cities there is a 2 hours wait at Delhi airport where as to the rest of the cities the connecting flight will be next day early morning. People can use stopover packages with hotel stay at the airport costing $40 to $100.

Ravi says that there is also service to Kathmandu, Rangoon, Male and Rangoon with base fare with taxes of less than $1000 return economy.

Air India also flies to London ($1596 return), Frankfurt ($1381 return), Paris ($1339 reutrn) and Birmingham ($1447 return). On the way to these cities there is a complimentary stay provided at Delhi IGI airport at Hotel Eton Terminal 3, condition being that the passenger makes an advance confirmation for hotel which is mandatory and can be done through Air India website: www.airindia.in or ringing 1800AirIndia  number.

The introductory return fare Sydney/Melborune–Delhi will rise to $1027 after September 30 and peak period that starts on December 11 the economy fare will be $1640 return.

Air India also provides 20Kg and the inaugural extra 10kgs till September 30. After that it is 20 kg but if passengers enrol as frequent flyer program by logging into www.flyingreturns.com.in they get extra 10 kgs and earn a 1000 bonus points every time they fly with no conditions attached to how many times they fly to India or even world.

On leaving note Ravi appeals to the community that ‘Air India is here to provide first class service and first class flying experience with direct connectivity to India seven days a week, competitive fares, comfortable aircrafts by saying, “Make best use of it and make Air India a success.”

Short URL: https://indiandownunder.com.au/?p=2479

Posted by on Aug 16 2013. Filed under Australian News, Community, Featured, Indian News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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