New Delhi: Air India Ltd will launch inaugural fares on Friday for non-stop flights to Madrid starting 1 December, the first time it is flying to the Spanish capital.

The non-stop flight from New Delhi will reach Madrid in nine hours, compared with one-stop options from other airlines that take 15 hours.

Air India has set the inaugural fares at Rs33,000 for a return economy ticket against Rs43,000 charged by one-stop flights, an airline spokesman said.

Air India will use its new Boeing Dreamliner 787 plane expected to join its fleet mid-November for the Madrid flights.

“We are also timing the flight in such a way that passengers from Bangkok (which generates 166 passengers per day), Colombo (which generates about 50-60 passengers per day) and Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne can connect to Madrid and back," the official said, adding special fares are also being launched to tap Saarc countries like Sri Lanka and Nepal.

The airline said it is also in discussions with three airlines—Avianca, Air Europa and Iberia—flying to Spain to feed its flights.

“The Indian embassy in Spain is giving us good support for the sales activities by proving references of corporates, multi-national firms and government officials," the same official said.

A former Air India official who declined to be named said many travellers from South America, especially Brazil, stay over in Spain for few days and then come to India.

That traffic, he said, could be tapped by doing a code share agreement with TAP Portugal, which is also a Star Alliance member airline like Air India.

“That was the initial plan and our maths had said it would bring many more passengers and increase tourism," the former Air India official said, adding, “This will also balance out season flows."

Air India, with a fleet of 135 aircraft, connects 103 cities domestically and abroad. Madrid will be its ninth European destination. The next set of international expansion is likely to happen in March when its receives its 23rd Dreamliner.

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