The longest and shortest flights this summer in India - Hindustan Times
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The longest and shortest flights this summer in India

Apr 02, 2024 08:29 AM IST

Planning your summer trip by air? Here is a vital checklist that every passenger must know.

The Northern Summer schedule for 2024 became operational on March 31, 2024. The DGCA has approved 24,275 weekly departures, translating into 3,467 average daily departures. On the very first day of the schedule, airlines operated 3035 scheduled domestic flights, which is just 87.5% of the approved schedule.

A model of the Airbus A220-300 aircraft is seen at a media event at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.(Reuters file photo)
A model of the Airbus A220-300 aircraft is seen at a media event at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.(Reuters file photo)

An analysis done exclusively by Cirium, an aviation analytics company, for this publication, throws up some interesting data about the longest and shortest flights crisscrossing the country.

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The longest and shortest route in India

The only government-run airline in India, Alliance Air, will operate an ATR 72-600 on the shortest route in the country, that between Guwahati and Shillong. The airline has a block time of 50 minutes for a route that is a mere 60 kilometres long. Block time is the total time a flight takes, from pushing back from the departure gates to arriving at the destination.

Air India’s (AI) thrice-a-week service from Delhi to Port Blair is the longest flight in India. The airline’s Airbus A320neo takes 3 hours and 35 minutes to fly the 2,467 km to Port Blair from Delhi. The return has a block time of four hours. The airline deploys the A320neo on this route.

Also read: Top 5 things every air passenger looking to travel this summer should know

How are other airlines doing?

Market leader IndiGo’s longest route is to Srinagar from Bengaluru, a distance of 2307 kms which is scheduled with a block time of three hours and thirty minutes. The shortest route for the airline is from Jammu to Srinagar (or vice versa) is the favourite shortest route for airlines. This is the shortest route for IndiGo, Vistara and SpiceJet. The distance between the two cities is 144 kms and an average block time across airlines is 45 minutes.

Interestingly, IndiGo’s turboprop network’s shortest route is longer than the Airbus routes. For the ATR 72-600, the shortest route this season is to Prayagraj from Lucknow, which is 168 kms in length. The airline has been pushing its ATRs longer and longer each passing season. The longest route this time around is the 774 km long flight to Varanasi from Indore, which will take two hours and 15 minutes. Its erstwhile longest flight between Vijayawada and Shirdi continues.

For Air India, the longest route also scores as the longest in the country, but its shortest route is between Mumbai and Pune - a distance of 124 kms where the airline deploys the A319. AIX Connect (erstwhile AirAsia India) which is set to merge with Air India Express and could see this as its last season of operations has its longest route to Kochi from Delhi, covering 2028 kms in three hours and twenty minutes. Its shortest route is to Jaipur from Delhi, a distance of 230 kms taking an hour of block time. For Air India Express, the longest route is the newly launched Kolkata to Kochi route with a distance of 1876 kms, while its shortest route in the network is between Kannur and Mangalore which is 134 kms long and takes just less than an hour. The other Tata airline, Vistara, which is set to merge with Air India sees its flight to Trivandrum from Delhi being the longest of the domestic network at 2211 kms.

Also read: How Delhi's aviation hub ambition takes wings with Air India's expansion, US pre-clearance talks

Struggling low cost carrier SpiceJet is operating its longest domestic flight to Bagdogra from Bengaluru which is a distance of 1848 kms. For Akasa Air, Mumbai-Guwahati is the longest route (2,074 kms), while its shortest route is the 248 km between Guwahati and Agartala.

Regional carrier Star Air is making the most of its regional jets as it flies the long thin route to Jamnagar from Bengaluru, a distance of 1300 kms with its ERJ145s. Interestingly, its shortest route to Nanded from Hyderabad - a distance of 244 kms is serviced by the larger E175s. Recently launched Fly91, which is based at Goa has its routes rather long with the ATRs with the shortest route being 496 kms long to Bengaluru and longest being 542 kms between Bengaluru and Sindhudurg. Indiaone Air - which has limited operations in the east and an all Cessna fleet operates 417 km long flight to Cooch Behar from Kolkata as its longest while its flight between Jeypore and Vizag is the shortest at 140 kms.

Alliance Air operates a 881 km long route, the longest for any ATR in India between Delhi and Bilaspur. The airline also operates the Made in India Dornier Do-228 aircraft which operates a short 68 km hop between Itanagar and Zero and a long hop of 208 kms between Itanagar and Pasighat.

Also read: Air traffic shift: Bharat is finally catching up with India

Tail Note

For IndiGo, AIX Connect, Air India, Vistara - the longest route in their network begins and ends at Delhi. Interestingly, for the international routes, it's the Bengaluru - San Francisco flight of Air India which is the longest at 13,987 kms and operated by the former Delta airlines B777-200LR which sport the Premium Economy for Air India.

Ameya Joshi is an aviation research analyst.

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