NEW DELHI: Among the four airlines that are currently offering direct flights to London from Delhi, Air India’s flight duration is the shortest at nine hours. This is because they continue to fly on the earlier flight path, which crosses parts of Russia and Eastern Europe.
"We continue to operate our flights on the earlier route as the airspace is open. It is not a 'no fly zone' so it is safe," said a source from Air India.
Vistara, a joint venture between Tata and SIA, takes 9 hours 20 minutes to reach London from Delhi, as they are not flying over Russia. British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic are taking longer routes to avoid flying over Russia as a result of which it is taking longer to reach their destination.
While BA is taking close to 10 hours, Virgin Atlantic is taking around 10.35 hours to complete the journey.
Meanwhile, the fares on the Delhi-London sector have sky-rocketed. There are two reasons behind this. Firstly, there are limited services and secondly the high cost of aviation turbine fuel (which has risen by Rs 19,000 per kilo litre since January this year) has led to the increased airfare. Besides, when you take a longer route you also burn more fuel so fares go up.
For a one-way ticket between Delhi to London, Air India charges Rs 81,852, Vistara Rs 95,154, British Airways Rs 1.42 lakh and Virgin Atlantic Rs 1.35 lakh. These are more than the return fare one would pay earlier on this sector.