x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

New flying colours for the Dubai-India route

Airline now offers direct flights between Dubai and Mumbai and Delhi.

ABU DHABI // The Indian budget airline IndiGo has begun daily flights from Dubai to Delhi and Mumbai, adding a new low-cost option for the country's large Indian expatriate community.

The first flight to Delhi left Dubai last night and the routes are the first international flights to be launched by the previously domestic-only airline.

The airline's flights to the subcontinent from Dubai will cost just Dh816 round-trip, significantly less than its competitors. Flights on Emirates to Delhi cost about Dh1,400 and on Indian-operated Jet Airways, Dh1,200.

As well as the UAE's nearly two million strong Indian community, the country attracts thousands of passengers daily from India, making it an attractive hub for the airline to exploit.

IndiGo's president, Aditya Ghosh, said: "Dubai is a key market for us and holds a lot of promise.

"We hope to provide the much needed avenue for countless Indians to explore wider horizons and at the same time open up the doors to more and more overseas travellers to experience India."

Naresh Kawatra, 46, travels to his home city of Mumbai two to four times a year to visit family.

The banker welcomed the lower-cost option, saying it would make it much easier for low-income families to get home more frequently.

However, having used IndiGo in India, he said: "For them to make an impact they really have to ensure that the service is improved and they stick to the scheduling. We use Emirates because it's dependable ... they need to make sure they stick to the timetables and they don't just become another Indian budget airline which doesn't offer a good service for passengers."

Mr Gosh said IndiGo would "endeavour to make the journey hassle free for our customers and provide them high quality experience at the best yet affordable prices".

mswan@thenational.ae