India-UAE flights: Airline connects another Indian city to Dubai

The inaugural flight landed at Dubai International Airport on Sunday, carrying 171 passengers

by

Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sun 17 Dec 2023, 5:22 PM

Air India Express on Sunday announced a direct flight between Surat and Dubai.

The budget carrier became the first airline to directly connect the two cities on the very day when the new international terminal of Surat Airport was inaugurated by prime minister Narendra Modi. The inaugural flight landed at Dubai International Airport on Sunday, carrying 171 passengers.

“Surat holds great importance for Air India Express as we expand our network on the back of a new fleet. We are part of the moment when Surat International Airport is growing and unveiling its new terminal. Air India Express is committed to fueling the growth story of Surat, as we connect the City of Diamonds to the City of Gold with this historic flight,” said Aloke Singh, managing director of Air India Express.

The airline will operate four weekly flights on the Surat-Dubai route. Currently, Air India Express is the exclusive airline facilitating international flights from Surat, with a frequency of five weekly flights to Sharjah.

Singh recently told Khaleej Times that the airline is looking to increase capacity to the Gulf region including the UAE, as well as provide better connectivity to Gulf travellers in different Tier 2 and 3 cities across India.

“There will be some capacity increases to Saudi Arabia and a little bit to Bahrain, Qatar and UAE. Between UAE and Kerala, the market is pretty well-served. We may be looking at increasing capacity from Kannur, a somewhat new point. On the Kerala-Gulf market, we will be offering some connectivity beyond points in Kerala to other points in India, so that people from the UAE and Gulf region will have better connectivity within different cities across India,” said Singh.

India-Dubai is one of the busiest air corridors as the UAE is home to the highest number of Indian diaspora, accounting for more than one-third of the UAE’s population. In addition, Dubai is one of the most popular destinations among the Indian tourists. According to Dubai Economy and Tourism figures, India was the top destination for tourists coming to Dubai in the first 10 months of 2023, reaching over 1.99 million, an increase of 39 per cent.

The airline connects various destinations in the UAE, including Dubai (DXB) with 80 flights, followed by Sharjah with 77 weekly flights, and Abu Dhabi with 31 flights. Other UAE destinations include Al Ain with 2 flights and Ras Al Khaimah with 5 weekly flights.

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