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British Airways to add flights to India, no plans for investment/ codeshare

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KAHINI CHAKRABORTYMumbai

British Airways is planning to increase its services to six weekly flights on the Hyderabad and Chennai route. This increase will result in the airline services to India go up to 47 flights on pan India basis. The airline, however, has no immediate plans of investment in the India market neither is it looking at any code share agreements with domestic airlines. As the airline has seen load factors increasing consistently on the Mumbai and Delhi sectors, regarding revival of its Kolkata operations, the airline is not planning to resume services on the sector at the moment. Christopher Fordyce, regional commercial manager, British Airways said, “India is our second focus market and we are looking at investing more in upgrading our services by introducing new cabins, airplanes and lounge services at Mumbai airport shortly. With an aim to showcase UK as the preferred leisure and business destination, the plan is to spend five billion pounds between British Airways and VisitBritain on a global basis. As part of the joint marketing campaign to promote UK globally, British Airways and VisitBritain will host events in key countries including India, Japan, Singapore and China.”

On the current competitive market, Fordyce opined, “We have been gaining a steady market share in India. We will also receive Boeing 787s and Airbus 380s this year. We have a strong local market and one of the best networks. We fly to 19 destinations in the US while Emirates flies to eight cities and we do not need to focus on London Heathrow as a transit hub. We are confident that with our new products and services the airline will be able to consolidate its position in the India market. We are making sure that British Airways would be the carrier of choice among passengers.”

Talking about the tourism increase, Shivali Suri, country manager- India, VisitBritain added, “We received 3,55,000 visitors from India last year and our target is to attract five lakh tourists by 2020. There has been a positive surge in visitor numbers to the UK after the London Olympics, we are hoping to continue the 20 per cent increase in leisure tourists arrivals this year as well.”

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