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IndiGo to develop flight network to Russia, Kyrgyzstan, other Central Asian nations

BusinessToday.In     August 22, 2020

IndiGo is planning to develop a flight network to Russia and the Central Asian countries in the next few months.

The domestic carrier has already operated passenger charter flights and cargo charter flights to countries like Russia,  Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, IndiGo's Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer Sanjay Kumar said.

"The last couple of weeks have given us great learning on the potential of these markets, which were kind of unexplored from our point of view so far," Kumar said at a webinar titled 'The Way Forward for Developing India-Central Asia Air Corridor' that was organised by industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

"I think we will be able to build up some kind of portfolio of routes and networks into these markets going forward in the next few months' time," he added.

India has never operated scheduled international flights to Central Asia or Russia.

Kumar said the airline was able to cover its operational costs in these destinations despite the flight coming empty on one side.

"We were quite surprised with the potential of the market because one-way the flight is going full load and on the other way it is coming empty and despite that, we were able to cover all our operational costs from both ends," he said.

Meanwhile, India has established air bubble arrangements with countries like the US, the UK, France, Germany, the UAE, Qatar, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Bhutan.

Moreover, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri also said that India is negotiating air bubble arrangements with 13 other countries. These 13 countries are Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.

Under a bilateral air bubble pact, airlines from both countries can operate international flights with certain restrictions.

Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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