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Indian airlines ramp up Sharjah flights

Indian airlines are ramping up services connecting Sharjah with the subcontinent to meet growing demand, adding new routes to connect the emirate with key cities in India. Air India Express and Jet Airways have both launched new Sharjah routes this year catering to business travellers and tourists, plus Indian expatriates working in the UAE.

Jet Airways introduced a new daily route to Sharjah International Airport from Mangaluru (IXE) in India’s southern state of Karnataka in August and has just announced a new daily service from Kozhikode, or Calicut (CCJ) in Kerala, beginning 30 October 2016. The airline also plans to launch a daily service from Hyderabad to Sharjah in December 2016. Jet Airways is India’s second largest airline operating flights to 67 destinations.

Meanwhile, Kochi-headquartered Air India Express has, so far, added three new routes this year connecting Sharjah with Mumbai (SAHAR), Chandigarh (IXC) and Tiruchirapalli (TRZ) airports, bringing its total number of direct Sharjah services to seven. The low-cost airline also operates direct flights to Sharjah from Kochi (COK), Kozhikode (CCJ), Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) and Varanasi (VNS).

Sharjah-headquartered Air Arabia has a long established network of Indian routes, launching its first Sharjah-Mumbai direct flight in March 2005. The airline now operates flights between Sharjah and 13 destinations throughout India: Ahmedabad (AMD), Bengaluru (BLR), Chennai (MAA), Coimbatore (CJB), New Delhi (DEL), Goa (GOI), Hyderabad (HYD), Jaipur (JAI), Kochi (COK), Kozhikode (CCJ), Mumbai (BOM), Nagpur (NAG) and Trivandrum (TRV).

The UAE is a popular business and tourism destination for India, which currently ranks as the Emirates’ third largest trade partner after China and the USA. Indian investment in the UAE is estimated at about US$ 52 billion (AED 190b), with India being the largest single origin of investors for Sharjah’s Hamriyah Free Zone and Sharjah International Airport Free Zone (SAIF Zone). SAIF Zone organised an extensive marketing roadshow in India over the early part of this year to target Indian investors.

Sharjah International Airport has seen a monthly passenger growth rate of 12 percent during 2016, compared with last year’s passenger numbers. In August, the airport has recorded its first million-passenger month, handling 1,041,870 inbound, outbound, transfer and transit passengers during the month. Total passenger numbers passing through Sharjah airport topped 10 million for the first time during 2015.

Source: Jet Airways, Air India Express, SAA

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