WITH trade between China and India growing exponentially and load factors as high as 82 per cent on routes linking the two countries, Air China is looking into establishing more flights to India, said a spokesperson from the airline.
The carrier is currently conducting a market study as it intends to launch two new flights – Ahmedabad-Shanghai and Hyderabad-Beijing – according to Tang Zhongling, general manager Mumbai, Air China, who was unable to give a start date for the flights.
She observed: “The satisfactory growth of passenger load is encouraging us to add flights to other cities in China as part of our growth plans for India. We intend to make the Mumbai service a daily one in the near future.”
Air China currently operates a total of 11 weekly services: Mumbai-Chengdu via Shanghai boasting an 82 per cent load factor; Delhi-Beijing with 78 per cent; and Bengaluru-Shanghai with 76 per cent.
Tang said 65 per cent of Indian travellers visited China for business, while the rest travelled for leisure or to visit friends and relatives.
Rajendra Dhumma, director, Classis Travel & Tour, said: “We are getting healthy growth in demand for China and if more cities are added to the airline’s network, we (will likely) see more business travel and MICE clients.”
Subhash Goyal, chairman, STIC Travel Group, commented: “As the Air China representatives in south and west India, we are eager to grow flights to multiple cities in India. I see signs of robust tourism growth of 20 per cent year-on-year, from India to China and vice versa, in the coming years.”
He said some 85,000 Indians visited China in 2012 and 46,000 did the same in 1H2013.