Air India Express, the budget arm of Air India, launched a new flight on August 17, 2015, connecting Varanasi, India, with Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The flight will operate three times a week and is expected to boost tourism and business between the two areas. Varanasi is an important pilgrim center, and Sharjah is a hub of economic activity. The new service was inagurated by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma. The Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju, and Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Culture (Independent Charge) and Tourism (Independent Charge), Dr. Mahesh Sharma, today jointly inaugurated the direct flight.
The Varanasi-Sharjah flight, IX 183, took off from Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport in Varanasi with 170 passengers onboard. Speaking on the occasion, Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that the new flight will improve air connectivity. He also said that if Uttar Pradesh becomes more civil aviation friendly, connectivity will go up easily. He also emphasized the need to establish training centers to improve the skills of personnel in the aviation sector. At the inauguration ceremony, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that Varanasi is an important destination for tourism particularly religious tourism. This flight will help in boosting the tourism in Varanasi.
Air India Express has deployed a 186-seater Boeing 737-800 aircraft which will depart from Varanasi thrice a week at 1700 hours and arrive Sharjah at 1930 hours. On the return leg flight IX 184 will depart from Sharjah at 1050 hours and will arrive in Varanasi at 1600 hours. The non-stop flight will operate on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, fulfilling a long-standing need of passengers of the areas, in and around Varanasi.
Air India also introduced from today a hub and spoke service from Varanasi, which will offer convenient links to many international destinations, by connecting the passengers to/from Air India flights in Delhi. With the newly-introduced hub and spoke service, Air India will offer convenient links to many international destinations in the Gulf countries, Jeddah, Moscow, Tokyo, Singapore, and Hong Kong by connecting the passengers to/from Air India flights.
The new hub and spoke flight, AI 039, will leave Delhi at 1035 hours and reach Varanasi at 1145 hours. The corresponding incoming flight AI 049, from Varanasi will reach Delhi at 1720 hours after taking off at 1550 hours from Varanasi.