Air India launches direct Delhi-Italy flight, which will cater to increasing number of tourists to Europe from the capital.

For holidayers and those undertaking pilgrim tours to Europe, the capital has emerged as a gateway. When Air India launched a direct service from Delhi to Rome and Milan, in Italy, on its newly acquired Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Friday, the national carrier seems to have finalised the schedule considering the increase in the number of flyers to Rome from the Thiruvananthapuram airport.

From now, passengers can board the AI 466 flight from the city to Delhi with a ‘through tagged’ baggage to Rome and Milan. After a four-hour transit, the flyers can board the flight that will depart from Delhi to Italy at 2.20 p.m.

“There is heavy rush from the capital during special events in the Vatican such as the recent canonisation of two former Popes, elevation of Syro-Malankara Church head Cleemis Mar Baselios as Cardinal, and the conclave to select the Pope,” says an official of a leading travel operator. In one instance, as many as 187 people travelled to Rome from here.

So far, passengers have been depending on foreign carriers operating from the Middle East to the State capital. After a long wait, they had to board long-haul flights in Dubai and Doha. Delhi-Rome-Milan-Delhi flight will operate four days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Delhi-Milan-Rome-Delhi flight will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. An AI official told The Hindu that since AI was operating the Delhi flight from the domestic terminal here, immigration and customs formalities could be completed only in Delhi for the time being.

By offering direct services to Italy, Air India has fulfilled a long-standing demand of Indians in Italy and also the travel and tourism industry. More details on the flights can be had from the AI helpline number at 1800-180-1407.