Vistara is launching two new routes to Sharjah, UAE, expanding its presence in the country. The carrier plans to add flights from Delhi and Mumbai starting this week, in addition to its services to Dubai. Let’s find out more about these new flights and why Vistara is focusing on the Middle East.
Vistara officially inaugurated its first route to Sharjah yesterday, flying from New Delhi. Later this week, on January 24th, the airline will also begin operating its Mumbai-Sharjah route. Notably, both routes will operate every day, even more than Vistara’s current flights to Dubai (which are four-times-weekly).
Sharjah is the third-most populous city in the UAE and less than an hour away from the bustling Dubai. The city is home to over a million expatriates, many of whom are from India, making the city a prime market for both business and leisure travel. The last year has seen extremely high demand for flights between the Middle East and India as many expatriates return to or leave countries.
While Sharjah may have strong demand, it also comes with tough competition. Air India Express, a major operator to the Middle East, flies to Sharjah from 11 cities across India, including Delhi and Mumbai, giving it favorable connectivity. Additionally, IndiGo, GoAir, and Air Arabia also operate flights to Sharjah. Clearly, there is no shortage of competition on this route.
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As mentioned, Vistara will operate one daily service each from Delhi and Mumbai to Sharjah, starting from this week. Flights will operate at the following times,
- Delhi to Sharjah (UK 267) – 02:30 AM – 05:00 AM
- Sharjah to Delhi (UK 268) – 06:00 AM – 11:30 AM
- Mumbai to Sharjah (UK 253) – 16:40 – 18:30 (from 24th January)
- Sharjah to Mumbai (UK 254) – 19:30 – 12:15 AM (from 24th January)
It should be noted that flights from Delhi will operate one hour later than scheduled for the first week of operations (January 20th – 26th).
Both routes will be operated by Vistara’s fleet of A320neos, the workhorse of the fleet. The aircraft features 164 seats in a unique three-class configuration of eight seats in business class, 24 in premium economy, and 132 in economy. Simple Flying has had the chance to review this aircraft in the past, including a complete cabin tour.
Focus on the Middle East
As international travel remains highly restricted due to the border closures, airlines have focused on routes from India to the Middle East. India currently has travel bubble agreements with several countries in the region (UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and more), allowing for flights to operate relatively normally.
The strong business ties between the region and the opening up of tourism in some countries has allowed for flights to thrive. In December, Delhi to Dubai was the fifth busiest route globally, followed closely by Mumbai, according to an OAG report in the Times of India.
Vistara has jumped on the growing demand, adding services to Doha in the last year as well. As vaccines are rolled out globally, we could see leisure traffic increase in the coming months, helping airlines bounce back from a difficult year.
What do you think about Vistara’s new route to Sharjah? Let us know in the comments!