SUDIPTA DEV – Mumbai
All Nippon Airways (ANA) has long-term strategic plans to establish Tokyo as the hub in the India-US route, in particular the West Coast of United States. ANA recently announced the launch of its Delhi-Tokyo daily flights from October this year, in addition to existing daily flights from Mumbai to Narita International Airport in Tokyo.
“India is a very important market for us, we want to develop Tokyo as a hub for those going forward. We are a network carrier and are focused on not only connecting India to Tokyo but also to the US. We have excellent connectivity to seven different cities in the US and have double dailies to New York and Los Angeles,” said Kenji Sugino, general manager – India, All Nippon Airways. The other US cities that ANA flies to are Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington (DC) and Honolulu.
Currently the airline is flying the 737 small business jet on the Mumbai-Tokyo route that has only 36 or 42 seats. Next year ANA plans to introduce the wide bodied 767 aircraft on this route. “Following which in the next two to three years we are thinking of starting operations from Chennai and Bengaluru,” said Sugino. From Delhi, ANA will be operating a new 767. There is approximately three hours transit at Narita for onward flight to the US.
ANA is looking at targeting 70 per cent Indian passengers on the Delhi-Tokyo route, these would include 40 per cent of those from India and 30 per cent US-based NRIs. The rest 30 per cent would comprise of Japanese passengers. “We know that it is a big challenge for us. We have to make a lot of effort. Price and meal service are important factors. Currently for Indian passenger we do provide Indian food and soon will be soon introducing vegetarian Japanese,” mentioned Sugino.
To create awareness in the India market about the airline, Sugino informed that ANA will be supporting the telecast of Rising Star cartoon series on Colours channel.