Philippine Airlines starts India operations

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai | Updated: Mar 29 2011, 07:38am hrs
Philippine Airlines, has started its India operations, with six daily flights on the Manila-New Delhi sector from March 27.

With increasing number of Indians looking to travel abroad for leisure, global carriers have either introduced flights in India or existing ones have increased frequencies. Currently, nearly 1,200 international flights operate per week from various Indian airports. Over 70 international carriers from approximately 55 countries have operations in the country.

Jonathan P. Gesmundo, a spokesman of the airline said, We had signed an air service agreement with the Indian government in 2005 which we are executing after nearly six years because we were evaluating traffic volumes on the sector, which is on the growth curve of late. Of the two million Indians who flew to South East Asia a year ago, only 32,817 came to the Philippines. The number is far behind those who travelled to Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

He further added that by this year, the 72-year old airline which is the national carrier of Philippines expects to sell around 1,88,000 seats as it is offering three direct flights to Manila and three flights routed via Bangkok to the US. The airline will gradually spread its wings to Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, with stop-overs to and from Bangkok.

Meanwhile, Bangkok Airways, which has launched services on the Mumbai-Bangkok sector early this month, also has aggressive plans on its India route. It is expecting about 27% business expansion on a total revenue of $337 million and 19% increase in 2.6 million passengers it carried in 2010. The opening of the Bangkok-Mumbai sector is a part of the airline's 2011 expansion strategy The president of Bangkok Airways said, We expect to operate at the average load factor of 60%.