Air India plans Lucknow-Iraq flights

Air India plans Lucknow Iraq flightsMUMBAI: Loss-making national carrier Air India is looking to start a flight service to Iraqi city of Najaf from Lucknow in UP via New Delhi, starting early next year.

Najaf is considered sacred by Shia Muslims. Notably, Lucknow has a sizable Shia population.

The airline is discussing modalities of the proposed flight, an airline source said.

“Air India plans to start services to Najaf from Lucknow, connecting New Delhi. But there are several issues which need to be sorted out before announcing the new flight,” the source said.

When contacted, an Air India spokesperson also said that “it (launch of Najaf flight) is a work in progress”.

According to the source, the stay arrangements for the flight crew is one of the key issues as it can’t stay in Najaf due to certain reasons.

“Therefore, one proposal is to connect the flight to Medina from Najaf so that the crew can stay in Medina in Saudi Arabia. Also, since the new route is likely to be operated by an Airbus A320 neo, which currently does not have extended diversion time operations (EDTO), which will have to be granted by the aviation regulator DGCA,” the source said.

EDTO allows a multi-engine aircraft to divert to a nearby airport in case of an emergency situation. PTI

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