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A series of mammoth airplane orders is turning India into one of the hottest markets for planemakers. What remains to be seen is if it can continue to maintain a similar proportion of aircraft deliveries in the future.

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Budget carrier IndiGo is preparing to take delivery of around 500 narrow-body A320-family jets from Airbus worth $50 billion. The European plane maker has emerged as frontrunner for an order eclipsing Air India’s historic provisional purchase of 470 jets in February, the sources said on the sidelines of an airline industry meeting in Istanbul. IndiGo is one of Airbus’s largest customers and has so far ordered a total of 830 Airbus A320-family jets of which nearly 500 are yet to be delivered. Airbus and U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing are also in separate talks to sell 25 A330neo or Boeing 787 widebody jets to the carrier, the industry sources said.

Indian carriers now have the second-largest order book, with over 6 percent share of the industry backlog, behind only the U.S., according to a recent Barclays report. The drive by IndiGo comes as the world’s third-largest aviation market is seeing a strong rebound in travel post-Covid, with passenger numbers surging despite high fares. IndiGo aims to double its capacity by the end of the decade and expand its network, especially in international markets. The airline has a codeshare partnership with seven carriers including Turkish Airlines, American Airlines and KLM. The alliance with Turkish has seen IndiGo make a major push into Europe, with the low-cost carrier now offering flights to 33 European airports.

Editor’s Note: Following confirmation from Indigo, this story and headline have been updated to reflect that the Airbus order is from Indigo’s old order book. 

Bahrain Tourism to Surpass Pre-Pandemic Levels

Bahrain is aiming to increase tourist footfalls from India beyond 2019 levels. “To achieve this target we are capitalizing on more marketing and promotion efforts with our local partners. Recently we signed over 100 tour operator agreements across the globe, of which two dozens were from India,” Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority CEO Nasser Ali Qaedi told news agency Press Trust of India. During 2019, Bahrain had hosted over 1.26 million Indian visitors, including both tourists and business travelers. In April, Bahrain’s national carrier Gulf Air started operating four weekly direct flights between India’s coastal state Goa and Bahrain. Bahrain is focused on two sectors in India to increase tourist footfalls — leisure and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.

Westin Opens All-Women Managed Property

Marriott’s Westin Hotels & Resorts has launched The Westin Hyderabad Hitec City, its second Westin property in the South Indian city. The 168-key, all-women managed hotel is located 20 miles away from the airport. “This landmark opening marks the first all-women operated hotel within the city and heralds a paradigm shift for the hospitality industry, breaking from the conventional ways of operating,” said Ranju Alex, area vice president of South Asia at Marriott International. Marriott plans to have 250 properties across India by 2025, including hotels that are open and in the pipeline. Last month, the hospitality giant also launched its apartment-style accommodations with Marriott Executive Apartments, Navi Mumbai in the western state of Maharashtra.

Ayodhya Preps to Host 100,000 Tourists a Day

Ayodhya in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh looks to host 100,000 tourists a day, said the pilgrim city’s Municipal Commissioner Vishal Singh. From five-star hospitality brands to local pre-built hotels looking for expansion and renovation, companies are lining up to open new hotels in the city. While Indian Hotels Company plans to open two greenfield properties with 100-room Vivanta and 120-room Ginger, Oyo also said it would add 50 properties in the city among which 25 will be homestays run by homeowners and another 25 will be small and medium hotels. Radisson Hotel Group is looking at launching two hotels in the city under their brands — Park Inn and Individuals. ITC Hotels is also exploring opportunities across its brands to bring them to Ayodhya to cater to the increased demand. 

The Postcard Hotel to Offer Luxury Travel Experiences

India-based boutique hotel brand The Postcard Hotel has partnered with Singapore Airlines to provide a rewarding experience to members of the airline’s global rewards program KrisFlyer. The collaboration allows members to earn 2,000 KrisFlyer miles, while also enjoying an exclusive launch offer of an additional complimentary night when staying for three nights at The Postcard Hotel. With a surge in inbound leisure traffic from Southeast Asia in 2022-23, this collaboration is perfectly timed to meet the growing demand for luxury travel experiences. Even though the hotel brand only launched in 2018, it already has nine properties open, with another 23 under development.

Need for More Direct Overseas Flights

India deserves to have international non-stop connectivity to more destinations, said Tata Group-owned Air India CEO Campbell Wilson. As foreign carriers with connecting flights mostly cater to overseas traffic, the government is working on developing an international aviation hub in the country while Air India and low-cost carrier IndiGo are also expanding their international operations.

Piloting the airline’s massive expansion plans in terms of fleet as well as routes, Wilson also said that IndiGo succeeding and Tata airlines coming together provides a good competitor to the strength of IndiGo. “It should hopefully allow for a market that is more sustainable, ideally profitable that will allow airlines to invest in new products, expand networks and also lead India to assume its place on the world aviation stage,” he told news agency Press Trust of India in a recent interview. 

GRT Hotels’ GReaT Trails Goes Pet-Friendly 

Homegrown brand GRT Hotels and Resorts has opened up its nature-inspired GReaT Trails properties at Yercaud, Kodaikanal, Wayanad and Thanjavur in South India to pets. “We understand how hard it can be to leave behind a part of your family while you’re on holiday. The GRT Hotels and Resorts group believes in inclusivity, so it only made sense that we opened our venues to pets too,” said Vikram Cotah, CEO of GRT Hotels and Resorts. Pet beds, bowls, mats, treats and collars with tags to identify the owner’s name and room number are just some of the measures being taken. There’s also plenty on the menu card to suit pets’ desires. Guests are expected to carry their pet’s vaccination records, de-tick records and other important details before checking in. 


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Tags: air india, airbus, bahrain, Boeing, codeshares, india, indigo, pet travel, postcard hotel, skift india report, westin

Photo credit: IndiGo has so far ordered a total of 830 Airbus A320-family jets of which nearly 500 are yet to be delivered. Source: stefano @viation/Flickr stefano @viation / A321neo IndiGo Airlines - XFW

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