Business class only flights arrive in Asia

1 Feb 2007 by business traveller

The trend towards all business class flights is spreading to Asia. In the West we've become used to the idea of all business class transatlantic flights from the likes of Lufthansa, Swiss, Maxjet, Eos and more recently Silverjet. And now the Japanese carrier ANA is pioneering the concept within Asia.

ANA will start a daily non-stop link between Tokyo Narita and Mumbai on September 1. The 'Business Jet' flight will be operated by a 48-seater B737-700. Timings are not yet available but service on board will be similar to regular long-haul business class standards, although the seating may not be the latest lie-flat style version owing to lack of space on the smaller plane. AVOD will be offered in the form of a portable media player along with noise-cancelling headphones.

Increasing trade links between the two countries have generated the need for this business-friendly service. At present the route is monopolised by Air India which operates a four times a week service with a B747. But the Air India flights make one or two en route stops depending on the day you travel.

So anyone seeking a daily link will currently have to book Asian carriers like Thai via Bangkok, SIA via Singapore or Cathay via Hong Kong which prolongs the journey time.

In other news, ANA says it will make savings on the main Narita to Heathrow route by downsizing the aircraft type. At present ANA operates a single B747-400 service, but starting May 24 it will be replaced on some days of the week by a more fuel-efficient B777-300ER.

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Report by Alex McWhirter

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