Air India today said it has inked a codeshare pact with European regional airline Flybe which will give passengers of the national carrier a seamless connectivity to the UK and rest of Europe from here and vice versa.
Flybe, a member of Star Alliance along with Air India, is Europe’s largest regional airline operating on 216 routes through 75 airports across 10 countries.
Code-sharing allows an airline to book its passengers on its partner carriers and provide seamless connectivity to multiple destinations where it has no presence.
The new partnership will allow customers of both Air India and Flybe to fly seamlessly from Europe to India and from here to destinations covered by Flybe, via Birmingham, an Air India statement said.
“The codeshare will enable Flybe travellers using its multi-frequency Birmingham services from Belfast City, Edinburgh and Glasgow to book seamless flights onward to Delhi. Under the unilateral agreement, Air India (AI) will place its marketing code on these Flybe flights (BE),” it added.
The seats for codeshare flights will be available for booking via Air India bookings portal as well as through local travel agents from May 10 for travel from June 1.
“The United kingdom is the residence of a large number of Indian diaspora. This codeshare agreement will be a huge benefit not only to the Indians living in the UK but also to tourists travelling to and from domestic sectors of the UK and India,” Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani said.
Flybe Chief Executive Officer Saad Hammad said the airline can now give the customers (under the code share pact with Air India) in the UK regions convenient access to the Indian subcontinent through Birmingham airport.
“This will relieve them of the need to undertake long road or rail journeys to and from the UK’s congested south east hub airports. It will also serve in contributing further to local economies by encouraging inbound travel from South East Asia,” Hammad said in the statement.
Air India now operates five daily direct flights to India from London/Birmingham. On its overall European network, its presently connects eight destinations in six countries.
Flybe is the largest airline by traffic movements at Belfast City, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Exeter, Glasgow, Isle of Man, Jersey, Manchester, Newquay and Southampton airports It has a fleet of 75 aircraft.
Besides, it also operates codeshare flights with British Airways, Air France, Etihad, KLM, Finnair, Cathay Pacific and Emirates.