In a related development as described in PART 1 on the fate of Jet Airways, several carriers have announced they will increase or launch service to and from Indian destinations following the suspension of Jet’s domestic and international routes.
UK-based Virgin Atlantic said it will begin a daily service to Mumbai from October, operated with a Boeing 787-9. Virgin Atlantic previously offered flights to Mumbai between 2005 and 2015,
before halting the Indian service as a part of a wider network revamp putting more focus on its transatlantic operations.
In addition to passenger demand, the UK carrier said it continues to see increased cargo business and the Mumbai service would provide "new opportunities" for companies looking to export and import goods between Mumbai and prime markets in the UK and USA. Virgin also serves New Delhi from Heathrow.
U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines has also disclosed plans to resume services to Mumbai with a new connection from New York JFK set to begin in December. The U.S. airline first announced its plan to restore India flights last year, after open-skies framework deals struck by the USA with the UAE and Qatar enabled it to return to the market.
Trying to fill the void in domestic operations left by the grounding of Jet Airways, India Vistara said in a statement aired May 24, 2019 that it has leased six aircraft from Singapore-based BOC Aviation to boost its domestic growth and will deploy them to meet the "sudden drop" in capacity in the market.
Pilots, cabin crew are drifting away in droves
Vistara - a joint venture between Tata and Singapore Airlines - has leased four Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft to be delivered in May 2019 and two Airbus A320neo powered by CFM LEAP 1A engines, scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2019.
At present, the full-service carrier connects 24 destinations, operates over 850 flights a week served by a fleet of 22 Airbus A320 aircraft.
The airline said it has recruited nearly 500 former employees of Jet Airways, including pilots, cabin crew, engineers and other staff to support the next phase of expansion of its domestic operations.
Likewise, a Press Trust of India (PTI) report said that budget carrier AirAsia India is looking to double its fleet in the next 12-15 months as well as launch international operations by October, a senior official said. The Bengaluru-headquartered airline - a joint venture between Tatas and Malaysia's AirAsia Berhad - is eligible to fly overseas. Currently, it has a fleet of 21 A 320 planes.
AirAsia India is in the starting blocks – among others
"We are planning to double our capacity (fleet size) in the next 12-15 months, beginning May this year. We are planning to induct some fuel-efficient A320 neo planes as well in our fleet," the official told PTI.
AirAsia India, which started operations on June 12, 2014, had a market share of 6.2% of the domestic traffic in April.
As part of their expansion plans, AirAsia India is likely to launch international services by September-October with flights to destinations in South East Asia, including Malaysia and Thailand.
"After South East Asia, we plan to expand our operations to destinations such as Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh in the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) region and also to Japan, the Middle East and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region," the official said.
Nol van Fenema