The ongoing Vande Bharat Mission has opened the untapped central Asian market in front of the Indian airlines and now they’re going to spread their flight networks to countries like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, etc as there is a decent market.
Indian airlines rarely flew to these countries before. Now that these routes are explored under the Vande Bharat Mission where Indians stranded in these countries are flown back home in Indian airlines, the airlines see an excellent prospect. for instance , if one wants to travel to Tashkent, there are not any Indian options. Air Astana, Vistara, Turkish Airlines, Air France, Etihad, Lufthansa are the only flights connecting Delhi to Tashkent.
During the previous couple of weeks, IndiGo has operated passenger charter flights and cargo charter flights to countries like Russia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, it’s Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer Sanjay Kumar said.
“The last few weeks have given us great learning on the potential of these markets, which were quite unexplored from our point of view so far,” Kumar said at a webinar titled ‘The Way Forward for Developing India-Central Asia Air Corridor’ that was organized by industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).
“I think we’ll be ready to build up some kind of portfolio of routes and network into these markets going forward in the next few months’ time,” he added.
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are a part of Central Asia. India has never operated scheduled international flights to Central Asia or Russia.
Talking about the charter flights operated to Russia and the Central Asian countries amid the pandemic, Kumar said, “We were quite surprised with the potential of the market because one-way the flight goes full load and on the other way it is coming empty and despite that, we were ready to cover all our operational costs from both ends,” he added.
While scheduled international passenger flight services remain suspended in India since March 23 because of the coronavirus pandemic, special international flights are operating with the permission of the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).