Air India To Operate Domestic Boeing 747 Flights

The Queen of the Skies will soon be flying additional routes in India. In the wake of the collapse of Jet Airways, Air India sees an opportunity to increase capacity on key domestic routes ahead of rivals. For this, Air India will be putting Boeing 747 aircraft into regular use. Starting from June 1st, Air India will deploy Boeing 747s to Kolkata and Mumbai from Delhi.

Air India will place 747s on two key domestic routes this summer. Photo: Jose Luis Celada Euba/Wikimedia

Air India’s new 747 routes

Routes Online reports that Air India’s 747s will fly from Delhi to Kolkata and Mumbai starting on June 1st. Both routes will see once daily operation of 747-400s. Currently, the 747-400 is scheduled on these routes until July 1st.

Air India’s 747s are becoming rarer. Air India uses these on a few high-density routes such as from Jeddah to Hyderabad and Hyderabad to Mumbai. In many cases, the 747s have been replaced with newer, more fuel-efficient 777s and 787 Dreamliners. In fact, no long-haul routes are operated by the 747. When not in active commercial use, the 747s are used to transport government officials including the Prime Minister.

Air India uses the 747 primarily for government transport. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr

Air India at Delhi

Indira Gandhi International Airport at Delhi is an important airport for Air India. For passengers, Delhi is a place they can connect to multiple foreign and domestic destinations. In fact, Air India operates quite a few long-haul routes out of Delhi.

Indira Gandhi International Airport is the busiest airport in India. Photo: Bharatahs/Wikimedia

Air India is probably banking on a combination of connecting passengers in addition to origin and destination (O&D) passengers. Delhi to Mumbai is a very strong O&D market. Kolkata to Delhi is also another strong O&D market.

India is a growing aviation market and shows no signs of stopping. Part of that growth comes through long-haul connections. For Indians, Air India offers a comparatively inexpensive way to get to far-away destinations in Europe and the Americas.

Air India’s long-haul operations out of Delhi. Rendering created at Great Circle Mapper

Air India’s 747s

The Queen of the Skies is getting old, and Air India’s 747s are no exception. While flying in a 747 would bring an avgeek much joy, you may find the onboard product somewhat uninspiring.

Air India’s 747 seat map. Rendering: Air India

Air India’s First Class is located in the nose of the 747s. First class comprises of 12 seats in a 2-2 configuration. On the upper deck, Air India outfits 26 business class seats also in a 2-2 configuration. In economy, passengers will find a 3-4-3 configuration. This brings the total passenger count to 423.

Overall

Air India’s placement of the 747 on domestic services is a way for them to boost capacity on high-demand routes. For these short routes, the slightly woeful onboard product may make less of a difference.

After Jet Airways’ collapse, plenty of airlines are increasing service to India. Some are going as far to introducing new aircraft and upgraded interiors on routes to India.

As airlines continue to phase out 747s, this may be a nice way for many to experience the Queen of the Skies a few more times.

Will you fly on Air India’s 747-400? Have you flown on Air India’s 747-400? Let us know in the comments!

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