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Air India's decision to introduce more than 400 additional weekly flights this winter is intended to meet the growing demand for air travel. The move would hopefully also help keep airfares in check.

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Air India announced it would be adding more than 400 weekly flights to its domestic and international route network until March 2024. On the back of expected new aircraft deliveries over the next six months, Air India aims to strengthen its domestic India network by adding more than 200 weekly flights. 

What about the international route network? The carrier would operate over 200 weekly flights, of which over 80 weekly flights have already been added. The airline also announced it plans to add four new international destinations to its network.

Air India has also improved its international flight service by increasing the number of weekly flights on eight international routes connecting Southeast Asia, the United States, and Europe. They now offer 25 times more flights each week. 

Here are the changes on some of the popular routes:

  • The weekly flights from Mumbai to Singapore have increased from 7 to 13.
  • Delhi to Bangkok now has 14 weekly flights, up from 7.
  • Delhi to Dhaka has increased to 12 weekly flights from 7.
  • Delhi to Newark (New Jersey) will have 4 weekly flights instead of the previous 3.
  • Delhi to San Francisco has 11 flights instead of 10.
  • Delhi to Washington D.C. has also increased to 4 weekly flights from 3.
  • The Delhi to Copenhagen route now has 4 weekly flights instead of 3.
  • Between Delhi to Milan, you’ll find 5 weekly flights instead of the previous 4.
  • And finally, the Mumbai to Doha route now has 9 weekly flights, up from 7.

More options: In addition, Air India is introducing flights on four new routes: Bengaluru to Singapore, Kochi to Doha, Kolkata to Bangkok, and Mumbai to Melbourne. 

Ixigo Launches Co-Branded Credit Card

Ixigo has announced the launch of a premium co-branded credit card in partnership with AU Small Finance Bank.

Target Audience: The partnership looks to enhance travel experiences for customers in semi-urban regions

The co-branded credit card is a first-of-its-kind across all travel verticals; flights, trains, buses & hotels, Ixigo said in a release.

The card is designed to address the evolving needs of modern travelers, who seek flexibility, convenience, and value, the release read.

“Research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) suggests that the travel sector is poised for a significant rebound, with an expected 20.7% year-on-year growth in 2024, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. This growth indicates a robust spending trend among Indian tourists in 2023,” said Sanjay Agarwal, founder and CEO of AU Small Finance Bank.

Costa Serena Starts Domestic Sailings  

Costa Serena has started domestic sailings in India.

Where Will The Sailings Take Place? It will offer a total of 23 cruises ranging from 2 to 5 days, visiting Mumbai, Cochin, Goa and, for the first time, the Island of Agatti in Lakshadweep.

The last itinerary celebrating the completion of its India program will also explore the Maldives. 

India is looking to develop cruise tourism and plans to increase the annual number of cruise passengers to 1.8 million by 2030, up from the current figure of 472,000.

Key Facts: Costa Serena has a total of 1,500 cabins, 505 of which have private balconies, and 14 passenger decks. 

Thomas Cook India Records Strong Second Quarter

Thomas Cook (India) Group registered a strong all-round performance for the quarter, with the consolidated profit before tax growing over 16 times to INR 766 million compared to INR 49 million in the second quarter of the financial year.

What is noteworthy, is Thomas Cook Group’s overseas travel businesses have registered a complete turnaround with a profit before tax at INR 80 million compared to a loss of INR 176 million in the second quarter last year. 

“With a 36% year-on-year growth in our leisure segment primarily driven by Thomas Cook and SOTC, and forward bookings for our travel services up by 32%, for the festive season and beyond, our expectation is to close the year on a strong note,” Madhavan Menon, executive chairman, Thomas Cook (India), said.

Developments in the Leisure Segment in Second Quarter:

  • Launched Private Journeys — personalized, premium, chauffeured van tours  to capitalize on increased demand for luxury/premium and experience led travel.
  • Introduced Book Easy. Go Easy — Instant Holidays by SOTC to target rising demand for short getaways.
  • Launched festive special holidays targeting high demand for Durga Pujo and Diwali for East and West regions.
  • Expanded portfolio of cruise holidays.

IHG Adds 350 rooms to Punjab Portfolio With Dual Hotel Signing

IHG Hotels & Resorts plans to develop two new hotels in the Chandigarh tri-city area — Crowne Plaza Chandigarh Zirakpur in the premium segment and Holiday Inn & Suites Chandigarh  Zirakpur from the essentials collection. 

Currently under construction, both hotels are scheduled to open in January 2027. IHG signed a management agreement with NK Sharma Hospitality for the hotels.

Commenting on the signings, Sudeep Jain, managing director, South West Asia, IHG Hotels & Resorts said, “The hotels’ strategic location along National Highway 22 and the easy accessibility to popular leisure destinations like Shimla and Kasauli will undoubtedly prove to be a significant draw for travellers across both leisure and business segments.”

More Financial Woes for Go First Airline 

Travel company Flycreative claims that Go First owes them INR 57 million. This includes INR 45 million for group bookings and INR 12 million as credit shell. Flycreative argues the money owed is actually a government loan they provided to help Go First recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Flycreative, Go First took their money for group bookings in May, even though they knew they were going to file for financial help. Go First hasn’t been operating since May 2.

The NCLT will likely review the Go First case on December 1.

A Roadmap for Tourism in Goa

NITI Aayog — the apex public policy think tank of India — organized a Goa roadmap for tourism as part of the G20 Think Tank Workshop series. 

The sessions witnessed discussions over the following themes: 

  • Green tourism for a sustainable, responsible, and resilient tourism sector. 
  • Tourism micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Harnessing the power of digitization to promote competitiveness, inclusion, and sustainability in the tourism sector. 
  • Strategic management of tourist destinations with focus on Heritage and Religious tourism. 

The session also shed light on new challenges and opportunities, such as the digital revolution or the need for greater environmental stewardship, and the urgency with which they need to be addressed. 

Goa also revealed a new homestay policy last month with plans to launch it within a month.  The state will also likely roll out a caravan policy in a month’s time.


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Tags: air india, costa cruises, credit cards, crowne plaza, flights, goa tourism, holiday inn, home rentals, ihg, ixigo, maldives, thomas cook group, winter, wttc

Photo credit: Air India to add more than 400 weekly flights to its domestic and international route network. Air India

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