ANA to launch first Tokyo-Mumbai non-stop flight | india | Hindustan Times
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ANA to launch first Tokyo-Mumbai non-stop flight

india Updated: Aug 08, 2007 09:54 IST
All Nippon Airways

Japan's second largest carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) will launch the first non-stop and the first all-business 36-seater jet flight between Tokyo-Narita and Mumbai from September 1.

The flight will operate six days a week with a Boeing 737-700ER (extended range) aircraft on the 9,000-km, nine-hour flight.

ANA is believed to be the first in Asia to offer business class-only flights following the recent trend set by Britain's Silverjet and the US' Eos.

As the business market between Japan and India grows with over 190 Japanese companies with a presence in India, "the objective of the flight is to capture Japanese businessmen setting up base in India and Indians doing business with Japan", ANA spokesman Rob Henderson told IANS over telephone from Mumbai.

Once demand increases, ANA would look at a larger aircraft with a mixed configuration to include economy seats, he added.

During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Tokyo last year, India and Japan agreed to increase the total number of flights between the two countries to 42 from the current 18 as part of their renewed air services agreement. The new bilateral has made it possible for ANA to fly to India.

The aircraft used on the new flight will undergo thorough maintenance once a week.

"We chose Wednesday because it is the day on which we expect the least demand. Demand will probably be highest at the start and end of the week," Henderson said.

During the winter schedule (Oct 28-April 30), the aircraft will land at Nagasaki to refuel on the way to Mumbai because of the winter headwinds.

The 50-minute stopover will still make the new flight considerably shorter than any of the stopping services connecting Tokyo and Mumbai, Henderson pointed out.

The aircraft will be fitted with an extra fuel tank as Mumbai falls at the edge of its 9,000 km range.

Menus for the Indian palette have been designed in consultation with a chef of one of Tokyo's top Indian restaurants. Japanese passengers will get a taste of home on board, with all meals accompanied by miso soup and bowl of specialty brand rice from Hokkaido.

Fresh salads, sushi and pasta will be among the menu choices and will be accompanied by a selection of wine and champagne that ANA serves on its first class intercontinental flights.

ANA is the launch customer for Boeing's new B-787 Dreamliner, with delivery of the first of its 50-aircraft order expected by end May 2008 and entry into service as early as June.