gamps
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Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:47 am

Virgin will be starting an additional flight on London - Delhi, thus making it thrice weekly operations, from Oct 27th. Interesting to note that it is not just for winter, but an year around operation codeshared with Air India. Looks like someone finally bulged in either Air India or Indian govt regarding Heathrow slots?

Cheers

Source:Press Trust of India
xxxx
NEW DELHI: British carrier Virgin Atlantic on Thursday announced an additional flight to London from Monday, taking its total number of weekly services from here to three.

The non-stop flight to London would depart every Monday from here at 1400 hours (IST) and reach London at 1740 hours (GMT), a Virgin Atlantic release said.

"We are delighted to launch our third service in cooperation with our codeshare partner Air India," the airline's General Manager (India), Andrew Fyfe, said.

He said the additional service would operate for a whole year on a sustained basis.

With the new flight, Virgin would operate its services from Delhi on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The British carrier had started its India operations in July 2000.

 
B747-437B
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:56 am

Actually, the original agreement between Virgin and Air India was for 2x weekly flights codeshared, increasing to 3x weekly flights depending on certain passenger thresholds being met.

When the time came that Virgin was eligible to institute their 3rd weekly flight, they threw a tantrum and threatened to pull out of the market completely unless they were allowed to operate DAILY flights. Air India told 'em that if that was going to be their attitude, they could take a hike and pull out of the market entirely. Virgin did their usual kicking and screaming and fussing around to the point of even announcing the end of service, but in the end they blinked and decided to let status quo remain.

Last winter, they ran additional services, but did NOT codeshare with Air India on those flights, as a result of which they had to terminate the services at the end of the trial open skies period (which they again made a big fuss about).

I guess this time they finally figured out that you have to play by the rules and that Indian bureaucracy is absolutely inflexible on issues like this!  Smile
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
behramjee
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sat Oct 25, 2003 6:33 am

A very wise move on VS's part as they need the extra flights to compete effectively with BA-AF-KLM-LH out of DEL who fly daily B 744s and A 343s (AF) to DEL.

I want VS to start BOM, CCU, BLR and MAA asap...especially BOM!!!
 
B747-437B
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sat Oct 25, 2003 6:45 am

I want VS to start BOM, CCU, BLR and MAA asap...especially BOM!!!

And I want a pony.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
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Richard28
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sat Oct 25, 2003 6:48 am

What is the position with India and open skies?

I read on another thread about Singapore or Emirates (cant remember which) starting services to Bangalore, which has got to be a massive money spinner for services from the UK (Many UK companies are sub contracting admin/servicing work to the sub-continent)

Does anyone have info on what the rules/restrictions are flying into India.

Thanks in advance!

Rich.
 
BA
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sat Oct 25, 2003 6:50 am

It's good to see that India is protective over its national carriers. That's very important.

ESPECIALLY for India which is a large lucrative market for airlines.

Especially the UK - India market since there are so many Indians in the UK and there are still strong political and economic ties between India and the UK.

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
gamps
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sat Oct 25, 2003 7:14 am

Richard,

Emirates has gained backdoor entry to Bangalore thru Srilankan which flies thrice a week and is making a daily ops soon. And with the open skies policy between India and Srilanka it will have unprecedented access to many stations in India. Srilankan already takes South Indian traffic from/to Europe through their Colombo hub.

The other airline is Gulf Air which is starting twice a week operations from Bahrain /Muscat to Bangalore tomorrow. Lufthansa is planning a daily ops to Bangalore till Feb taking advantage of limited open skies policy. Singapore already flies thrice a week to Bangalore and wants to make it double daily (!?) per some newspaper report which quoted SQ's Indian chief.

Cheers
 
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Richard28
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sat Oct 25, 2003 7:27 am

Thanks Gamps. I appreciate your response.

I'm still a little confused though as there is an open-skies policy (still in trial period?) yet we know there are restrictions for VS flying into DEL.

I'd appreciate some clarification on the following:

1) Does the open-skies agreement in India only apply to certain territories?

2) Does India restrict service in to India from countries outside of this open skies legislation?

3) Does the UK restrict services into LHR from India?

4) Are there slot restrictions/government control of slots into Indian airports?

5) Does India have a Bermuda 2 type arrangement like LHR?

Any responses appreciated, as I'm thinking it seems that the amount of services between UK/India does not meet demand - what is holding it back?
 
B747-437B
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sat Oct 25, 2003 7:44 am

Does the open-skies agreement in India only apply to certain territories?

The seasonal open-skies (November to February) this year permits all airlines currently operating to India to increase frequencies or capacity on those routes they are already operating.

Does India restrict service in to India from countries outside of this open skies legislation?

All countries with whom a bilateral aviation treaty is in effect are covered by this seasonal open-skies policy.

Does the UK restrict services into LHR from India?

Yes. The UK-India bilateral permits 17 weekly services between the two countries on each side, plus an additional frequency to Kolkota (as amended in a sideletter). BA utilizes all 17 of these frequencies (7x BOM, 7x DEL, 2x MAA, 1x CCU plus the additional CCU frequency) from the UK side. From the Indian side, Air India WANTS to operate the permitted 17 frequencies, but no slots at LHR have been made available for them. As a result, they are restricted to only 10 frequencies at present. Of the 7 dormant frequencies, they allow Virgin to utilize 2 (and now 3) of them for DEL-LHR flights provided that VS grants codeshare rights on those flights (its actually a reverse-codeshare deal).

Are there slot restrictions/government control of slots into Indian airports?

The airports at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkota, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram are designated as Level 3 airports with consequent slot controls.

Does India have a Bermuda 2 type arrangement like LHR?

India-UK flights are governed by the bilateral agreement between the two countries described above.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
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Richard28
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sat Oct 25, 2003 8:03 am

B747-437B, you are a wealth of information, and are now added to my respected members list!

This does re-enforce the need for mixed operation of LHR runways - and a 3rd LHR runway asap.


Thanks again - everything is now crystal clear!

Rich.
 
donder10
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sat Oct 25, 2003 8:25 am

It's good to see that India is protective over its national carriers. That's very important.

ESPECIALLY for India which is a large lucrative market for airlines.

A rather contentious method BA!Recent signs indicate a nascent liberalisation of the international Indian market too.


Of the 7 dormant frequencies, they allow Virgin to utilize 2 (and now 3) of them for DEL-LHR flights provided that VS grants codeshare rights on those flights (its actually a reverse-codeshare deal).
Why VS aren't allowed to utilise more weekly frequencies?Slots themselves?Is the issue of AI not being allocated the designated amount of slots it is allowed,the main stalling point on any increase in weekly frequencies?



 
B747-437B
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sat Oct 25, 2003 8:38 am

Is the issue of AI not being allocated the designated amount of slots it is allowed,the main stalling point on any increase in weekly frequencies

Yes. It is the ONLY issue actually.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
donder10
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sat Oct 25, 2003 8:20 pm

Roll on 3rd runway indeed.
 
behramjee
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sun Oct 26, 2003 4:26 am

Would it really hurt AI if they can fly to LGW a few times a week instead of more LHR flights??? I can understand LHR being prefered over MAN and BHX but come on LGW is OK...from there they can too take pax to USA or have them connect with some American carrier to US!

 
donder10
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sun Oct 26, 2003 4:53 am

What % of AI LHR-JFK/ORD passengers have already come from India?I have seen 70% quoted but don't know if this is reliable.
If it is, then utilising say 4 flights a week through LGW until more LHR slots are made available wouldn't be too bad surely?
 
B747-437B
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RE: Virgin Increases LHR-DEL Freq To 3 Per Week

Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:10 am

Would it really hurt AI if they can fly to LGW a few times a week instead of more LHR flights

The Indian diaspora in London is heavily concentrated in the Southwest around the Hounslow-Southall area. They are not going to schlep their way down the M25 to Gatwick.

More relevant though is that LGW has never been offered as an alternative. When it was requested back in the early 1990s, they were denied and offered STN. At that time they chose to operate to MAN instead via FCO.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada