GoAir Plans International Foray With Phuket, Maldives Service

GoAir plans to launch its overseas operations with flights from Mumbai to Phuket and Male (Maldives) in the winter schedule.

GoAir became eligible to launch international services last year when it inducted 20th aircraft in its fleet. However, the launch of new destinations has been postponed because of delays in deliveries of Airbus A320neo planes.

GoAir has 23 Airbus A320 planes, including five A320neo aircraft. The airline is expecting two planes by October and is expected to firm up its overseas plans by then, say airline sources.

A GoAir spokesperson did not respond to an email query on the topic. At present, there are no direct flights from Phuket to India and Male is linked only to cities in South India and Delhi. Securing a slot at Mumbai airport could be easier given airport operator’s preference for virgin international routes.

“We have plans to start overseas operations from October this year,” GoAir’s managing director Jeh Wadia told PTI on Monday. Wadia said, initially, the airline would fly to the destinations of Asia and reviewing the destinations within the region.

International traffic from India is growing at 9 per cent and rival low-cost carriers are increasing frequencies or launching new routes to cater to the demand. IndiGo proposes to start services to Colombo from Mumbai and Bengaluru and has appointed a general sales agent in Sri Lanka. Similarly, it is considering ATR aircraft service and Air India Express is starting a Madurai-Singapore service.

Initially, GoAir had planned to begin its international operations with flights from Kochi to Doha and Dammam in the second half of the year. But the planned launch of flights to Gulf region is said to be on the backburner and has zeroed on Phuket and Maldives.

Around eight lakh Indians visited Thailand in seven months till July. “Phuket is an important destination for leisure holidays and meeting and incentive tours. Bangkok has a lot of business traffic which Phuket lacks and it may be difficult to fill up the flight round the year. Phuket and Male are not connected by any airline from Mumbai so that will be an advantage for GoAir,” said an aviation analyst.

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