KAHINI CHAKRABORTY – Mumbai
Air China is planning to introduce daily flights between Mumbai and Shanghai. Presently, the airline operates to three destinations in India- Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru with a total of 11 weekly flights from India. The airline had appointed STIC Travel Group as their representative in the India market to handle the west and south India regions.
Talking to Express TravelWorld on the sidelines of its celebratory event of Air China completing one year of successful operations in Mumbai, Tang Zhongling, general manager, Air China Mumbai said, “We are pleased with our performance and our passenger load factor has also been growing, which is encouraging us to increase our flights from India to other cities in China. We intend to make the Mumbai operation into daily operations.”
Air China is currently doing its market study as it intends to operate flights on new routes – Ahmedabad and Hyderabad in the near future. “Currently we have 476 aircraft including Boeing and Airbus and in next two years we will operate 700 aircraft,” informed Zhongling.
He informed that last year the airline witnessed 82 per cent load factor from the Mumbai, 76 per cent from Bengaluru and 78 per cent from Delhi. Currently, 65 per cent of travellers travel to China for business, while 35 per cent for leisure and VFR (visiting friends and relatives).
Subhash Goyal, chairman, STIC Travel Group added, “The relation between China and India is growing faster and so is tourism. India is one of the preferred destinations for Chinese nationals. Currently due to the recession in Europe, I feel Asian countries must look at each other and if we can increase travel and tourism, the negative effect of recession could be overcome.
From Mumbai, business travel is increasing to Shanghai and we are focused on increasing bilateral trade and tourism between the two countries. Last year, 85,000 Indian travellers visited China and we hope that in the next two-three years the numbers will increase to one lakh. We are averaging a growth of 16-18 per cent outbound from India to China.”