Air India has announced its Canada flight schedule until March 27th of next year. The carrier will fly from Delhi to both Toronto and Vancouver. Flights are occurring under travel bubble agreements and this is the first time Air India has published a schedule for half a year since the pandemic. Canada is a popular destination for Air India, with flights previously operating from Amritsar too.
Air India confirmed yesterday that passengers can now book tickets on its flights from Delhi to Toronto and Vancouver services between October 25th and March 27th. This is significant since Air India usually formalizes flights on a monthly or bi-monthly basis along with the Vande Bharat plans.
However, this time it seems Air India is using the travel bubble permission to plan half a year’s worth of flights (scheduled flights are still technically banned). Passengers will benefit from the certainty that their flights can be booked in advance and will operate, instead of anxiously waiting a month before the flight.
The Delhi-Toronto route will operate five times a week, on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Delhi-Vancouver route will operate three times a week on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Air India operates both routes using a 777-300ER.
Scheduled flights to resume?
Air India’s decision to plot flights in advance once again could indicate that India is getting closer to restarting scheduled flights. However, that still seems in doubt since India has been signing new travel agreements nearly every week and has given no indication it plans to do so before the pandemic ends.
Instead, what we could so see is the rise of more planned routes under travel bubbles, such as this Air India one. These routes have fixed times and dates set far in advance but are still classified as non-scheduled ones. We could see Air Canada become the next carrier to announce a schedule to Canada reciprocally.
Foreign airlines are currently flying to India under the travel bubbles, which requires India to approve their schedules. India generally approves flights on roughly a monthly basis, but as Lufthansa learned the hard way, they could also reject permissions. For now, scheduled flights are unlikely to return soon.
Canada is an important market
Canada accounts for 25% of flight traffic between India and North America, according to anna.aero. The Delhi-Toronto city pair was the busiest India-North America route in 2019, while Delhi-Vancouver came in second. While this mainly due to much of the US traffic being connecting flights, it does underscore by India is an important market for airlines.
Air India has long viewed Canada as a lucrative market, most recently adding flights from Amritsar to Toronto as well. The new flights to Vancouver are a post-pandemic addition for Air India, but could be here to stay if demand supports the route.
Which carrier would you fly with to and from Canada? Let us know in the comments!