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Being the inaugural carrier at one of India's newest airports gives IndiGo a strategic advantage.  

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Low-cost carrier IndiGo is set to be the first airline partner for India’s new Noida International Airport when it begins its first phase of operations by the end of next year. 

Expanded Connectivity: Uttar Pradesh and the surrounding regions will see added air connectivity through IndiGo’s route network as a launch carrier.

NIA is expected to connect the greater Delhi area and Western Uttar Pradesh with other cities in India and the world. The airport will be able to accommodate 28 aircraft and 12 million passengers annually once operational. Capacity will grow to 70 million per year by phase 4.

A memorandum of understanding signed between IndiGo and the airport will address operational efficiencies, customer service enhancements, and improved business opportunities, according to Pieter Elbers, IndiGo’s CEO. 

Growing Dominance: This development further solidifies IndiGo as one of the dominant carriers in India’s rapidly expanding aviation market. 

IndiGo already has the largest number of domestic flights among Indian airlines in this year’s winter schedule. The airline also has a record 500 Airbus narrowbody jets on order and is exploring its options with Boeing’s widebody aircraft.  

In September, the airport unveiled its IATA (International Air Transport Association) airport code – DXN. DXN symbolizes Delhi (D) Noida (N), and X means connectivity, establishing the airport’s presence in the National Capital Region (NCR).  

Air India Launches Direct Delhi-Phuket Service

Air India will connect Delhi with Phuket in Thailand, with a non-stop service starting December 15, 2023.  

Initially operating four times a week, the frequency will increase to daily flights from January 2024.

Phuket is reportedly the first of four new international destinations that Air India plans to launch by the end of March 2024. Air India steps up its Thailand flights as visa-free travel makes it easier for Indian travelers to visit the country. IndiGo is currently the only airline with nonstop Delhi-Phuket flights.

Direct Flight Details: Operated with an A320neo aircraft offering 162 seats (150 in Economy and 12 in Business Class), AI 378 will depart from Delhi at 0110 IST and arrive in Phuket the same day at 0710 IST. 

The return flight AI 379 will take off from Phuket at 0810 IST and land in Delhi at 1050 IST.  This four-flights-a-week schedule (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays) will become a daily operation starting January 2024.

Air India currently operates 26 flights to Bangkok per week, with daily non-stop flights from Delhi and Mumbai and six flights a week from Kolkata. Air India’s interline partnership with Bangkok Airways connects passengers to added destinations in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.

Akasa Air Expands Indian Network, Eye International Routes

Akasa Air is expanding its network to Port Blair. The airline will now have daily flights between Bengaluru and Port Blair through Chennai, making traveling between the popular tourist destination and these two major cities easier. Flyers can book their flights on Akasa Air’s website, mobile apps for Android and iOS, or through various online travel agencies.   

Current Operations: Launched last year in August, Akasa Air currently operates more than 750 weekly flights across 16 Indian destinations.

International Flights: The airline will soon start international operations as it has received flying rights for Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi ArabiaDoha in Qatar, and Kuwait.

Fleet Expansion: With a current fleet of 20 aircraft, Akasa expects to have 25 aircraft by the end of this fiscal year and to add 15 more aircraft by the end of the next financial year. By mid-2027, the airline expects to take delivery of 76 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes. 

Oman’s SalamAir Boosts India Route with 5 new Destinations

SalamAir, Oman’s low-cost carrier, is expanding services in India to five new destinations, including HyderabadCalicutJaipurTrivandrum, and Lucknow.

The Improved Oman-India connectivity, supported by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Of Sultanate Oman, adds competitive market dynamics and choices for travelers, according to the airline’s route launch announcement. 

MakeMyTrip Partners to Help Female STR Business Owners

Indian women earning a living through short-term rentals have an opportunity to up their game through “Project Maitri,” a partnership between MakeMyTrip and The Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP).

About the project: The project, developed by Niti Aayog, looks to support women’s entrepreneurship and self-reliance within the northeastern region of India through homestay business development

Skills Training: Those chosen for the project will get specific training related to hospitality, safety, digital marketing, and short-term rental compliance. An award will also recognize the region’s top three homestay owners. 

Applications for this program will open on December 13 on the WEP website.

Rare Collection Hotels’ Latest Additions

RARE, a community of luxury boutique hotels, palace stays, wildlife lodges, homestays, and retreats in India, Nepal, and Bhutan, has added 16 new hotels in India. Of these, seven are in northern India, three are in Western India, one is in Central India, three are in Eastern India, and two are in the South and Western Ghats area.

RARE in Northern India

  • Ladakh: Ladakh Sarai, Saboo; Tara Mountain Sarai, Zanskar; and The Grand Dragon, Leh
  • Jammu & Kashmir: Qayaam Gah, Srinagar
  • Himachal Pradesh: The Lodge at Wah, Kandbari
  • Uttarakhand: Aashraya on The Ganga, Rishikesh; Blue Book at Gethia

RARE in Western India

  • Rajasthan: The Legacy Mandawa by The Machan; Utsav Camp, Sariska
  • Gujarat: Rann Riders by Kaafila, Dasada

RARE in Central India

  • Madhya Pradesh: Bagh Villas, Kanha TR

RARE in Eastern India

  • Assam: M.V. Rudra Singha I; M.V. Rudra Singha II 
  • Odisha: Kila Dalijoda, near Cuttak

RARE in South & Western Ghats

  • Tamil Nadu: Heritage Madurai
  • Maharashtra: Sawantwadi Palace

India’s Slow-drip Visa Access for Canada Still Excludes Tourists

Almost two months after it suspended visa services in Canada, India resumed e-visa services for Canadian nationals on Wednesday last week. 

“Indian eVisa facility has been restored with effect from November 22, 2023, for all eligible Canadian citizens,” the Indian High Commission in Ottawa wrote on X. 

Last month, India resumed visa services for certain categories like business, medical, and conference visas. However, tourist visas still need to be made available for Canadian citizens.

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Photo credit: An A 321 Neo belonging to Indigo. Indigo

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