With the launch of national carrier Air India’s (AI new flight service linking Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore, travelers now have an extra option for their journey. The flight was launched on October 25, 2009 (Sunday). Besides Delhi and Dubai, this is third flight of AI from Pune. The flight IC-917 will depart from Bangalore at 8.10 am and arrive in Hyderabad at 9.15 am. From there, it will depart at 10.10 am and land in Pune at 11.10 am. The return flight IC-918 will depart from Pune at 3.20 pm in afternoon and arrive in Hyderabad at 4.25 pm. There, it will stop for sometime and leave for Bangalore at 5.05 pm, arriving in the city at 5.45 pm.
Dhairyasheel Vandekar, AI's Pune Station Manager, said that flight timings offered the most convenient option to travelers frequenting these cities and was the unique selling proposition of the new service. He added that no other airliner on the Pune-Hyderabad-Bangalore route offered such timings. The fare for Pune-Hyderabad in Executive class, Economy class (14-day advance booking), Economy class (7-day advance booking), Economy N' class will be Rs 12,724, Rs 1,910, Rs 2,675 and Rs 2,905, respectively. On Pune-Bangalore route, the fare in Executive class, Economy class (14-day advance booking), Economy class (7-day advance booking) and Economy N' class will be Rs 15,374, Rs 1,910, Rs 2,675 and Rs 2,095, respectively.
There is one problem with the flight schedule. AI's Pune-Hyderabad-Bangalore schedule does not leave enough time for passengers, who may plan their return from Pune to Bangalore by the evening of the day they start from Bangalore. The flight from Bangalore will reach Pune at 11.10 am and leave Pune at 3.20 pm. This will leave them with merely four hours time in Pune, in which two hour will go waste in traffic and security check, leaving just two hour time for the passenger in Pune. Commenting on this Vandekar said that the timings were most convenient for people planning an overnight stay in Pune, but the schedule was tight for a one-day trip. However this is not going to be matter of loss for AI, as all the three cities are established IT destinations of the country and share strong trade and business links.
Kingfisher airlines, Jet Airways, Indigo and SpiceJet too offer their services from Pune to these two cities. A majority of these services involve smaller ATR-72 and CRJ aircraft, which have seating capacity ranging from 50 to 72, as against the larger Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. SpiceJet and Indigo operate A320s for their Bangalore service, while Kingfisher operates the larger aircraft for its evening flight to Bangalore. AI has deployed a 145-seater Airbus A320 aircraft on the new route, with 20 of these seats in the executive class segment. This has been done keeping in view the government office travelers and cargo movement as well.