India’s national carrier Air India will launch direct flight services to Jeddah from Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh (UP), during the forthcoming winter schedule, commencing from October, reports Arabian Business.
Currently, Air India operates its service from Lucknow to Jeddah via Delhi, where passengers have to change the aircraft.
“Air India will be launching a direct flight to Jeddah from Lucknow in winter schedule. This will help passengers to save at least 3 hours of travelling, besides avoiding the hurdle of changing of aircraft in Delhi,” Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar told Arabian Business.
The proposed Air India flight is scheduled to take off from Lucknow at 2.30 am (Indian time) and expected to reach Jeddah after five and half hours of travelling, the spokesperson added.
The national carrier is expected to deploy Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on the Lucknow-Jeddah route, with 18 seats in business class and the rest 238 seats in the economy class.
The proposed direct service of Air India from Lucknow to the commercial capital of Saudi is expected to be a boon for hundreds of thousands of expats – largely consisting of unskilled and semiskilled workers employed in construction and related fields – across UP and nearby Bihar, who work in Jeddah and nearby areas.
Jeddah, the commercial hub of Saudi Arabia, which is also the gateway to the Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, is increasingly becoming a sought after destination for Indian airlines, with Air India being the latest to join the bandwagon.
Earlier, Indian budget airlines SpiceJet and IndiGo launched direct flights to Jeddah from multiple India cities.
SpiceJet currently operate direct flights to Jeddah from Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kozhikode, while IndiGo operates daily direct flights to the Saudi commercial capital from Delhi.
Indian carriers have been ramping up their operations to the Middle Sector of late after the grounding of Jet Airways, by launching new and additional flights to several destinations including Dubai, Riyadh and Jeddah.
India’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) last month has temporarily allotted additional seat capacities from the quota of Jet Airways to Air India and private Indian airlines.