Air India Express, the Kochi-headquartered budget arm of Air India, is expected to add two new routes to Sharjah International Airport next month, bringing the total number of its routes between Sharjah and Indian destinations up to eight. The airline will introduce three non-stop flights per week each from Chandigarh (IXC), the state capital of Punjab and Haryana, and from Tiruchirapalli (TRZ) in Tamil Nadu state.
India is one of the United Arab Emirates’ leading trade partners, accounting for some 9.8 percent of the country’s total non-oil trade, buying 14.9 percent of the Emirates’ exports and 8.7 percent of its re-exports. The total volume of bilateral trade between India and the UAE is expected to increase from USD 60 billion in 2014 to USD 100 billion by the year 2020. India is also the largest single origin of investors for Sharjah’s Hamriyah Free Zone and Sharjah International Airport Free Zone (SAIF Zone).
Air India Express has been expanding its services to destinations in the UAE, including daily Mumbai-Dubai, Mumbai-Sharjah, New Delhi-Dubai and New Delhi-Abu Dhabi routes, which it added earlier this year. According to the airline, the number of its weekly flights between India and the UAE increased from 107 flights to 146 flights per week before the summer.
The low-cost airline currently operates six routes with a total of 15 weekly flights to Sharjah International Airport. Air India Express now flies direct to Sharjah from Kochi (COK), Kozhikode (CCJ), Mumbai (SAHAR), New Delhi (DEL), Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) and Varanasi (VNS.
India is well connected to Sharjah, with Sharjah-headquartered Air Arabia operating flights between Sharjah and 13 Indian destinations. Jet Airways, India’s second largest airline, operates direct daily flights on Sharjah-Kochi and Sharjah-Mangaluru (IXE) routes.
Passenger numbers at Sharjah International Airport increased by 11.55 percent during the first half of this year, compared with the same period in 2015, with a total of 5.35 million passengers passed through the airport from January to June 2016. According to Sharjah Airport Authority statistics, the number of passengers passing through the airport increased by nearly 15 percent last month, compared to July 2015.
Source: Air India Expresss, SAA