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Air India expects surge in demand post gadgets ban on flights from Muslim nations

The ban by the US and the UK on carrying certain electronic gadgets in cabin baggage on flights from some Islamic countries may come as a boon for national carrier Air India.

twitter-logoPTI | March 23, 2017 | Updated 20:58 IST
AI expects surge in demand post gadgets ban on flights from

The ban by the US and the UK on carrying certain electronic gadgets in cabin baggage on flights from some Islamic countries may come as a boon for national carrier Air India.

The state-owned airline, which operates its flights to multiple destinations in both the US and the UK expects a surge in demand for its flights to these geographies following the ban, a senior Air India official said.

At the same time, the government said that it would study the restrictions to understand the impact of the ban on the Indian carriers.

At present, besides Air India, private carrier Jet Airways also flies to the US, but via its partner Etihads Abu Dhabi hub.

"All our flights to the US are non-stop. This ban is only for the countries in the West Asia and North Africa, and it will not affect us at all," Director Finance, Air India, Vinod Hejmadi said.

"This is a positive news for us and we are watching the situation. If load and demand increases to a great extent then, yes, we will be thinking about mounting additional flights," Hejmadi added.

The new policy affects people flying to the United States from airports in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The United Kingdom authorities have also announced a similar ban on devices larger than smart phones on flights from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.

"We can take it as an advantage because what is likely to happen is that passengers booked on other airlines operating from or through the West Asia may look for airlines which are not affected by such restrictions," Hejmadi said.

Air India operates non-stop flights to four destinations in the US -- San Francisco, New York City, Newark and Chicago.

Besides these destinations, the airline has already announced its plan to fly to Washington DC from New Delhi by July this year.

Air India also operates several direct services to the UK from Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad, among others.

According to the official, since Air India flies directly to the US and the UK, it has an edge over the British and European carriers, which have one-stop flights from here to these destinations.

Indian passengers account for more than 30 per cent of the total traffic of three major Gulf carriers -- Etihad, Emirates and Qatar -- bound for the US and the UK, according to industry estimates.

 

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