T.S. Shankar

It will open up new vistas for the business and leisure travellers

CHENNAI: Capitalising on India's boom in the civil aviation sector and the "open sky policy," Air France will begin its direct tri-weekly Paris-Chennai-Paris flights from October-end.

The carrier now offers direct daily services to Mumbai and Delhi and five times a week to Bangalore.

"We are operating the latest generation Airbus-340 jet to link Chennai, the vital gateway of South India, to Paris, thereby opening up convenient onward connections to the European countries and the West," Jean-Louis Pinson, Senior Vice-President, Asia Pacific, Air France, told The Hindu here on Wednesday.

The Chennai link would open up new vistas for the business and leisure travellers from Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Pondicherry. Air France already had commercial tie-ups with Indian (formerly Indian Airlines) and Jet Airways to act as "hub and spoke" feeder carriers from various southern regional destinations.

Air France would increase capacity by 35 per cent. Depending upon the response to the thrice-a-week Chennai flight, the airline would make it a daily service. The airline would commence the 291-seater Airbus-340 jet operations to Chennai on October 30.

Mr. Pinson said there were more than 300 French companies having their establishments in different parts of India. Air France and KLM together offered 42 weekly flights to India.

Utmost importance was attached to Aviation Turbine Fuel efficiency, he said.