Today's news in brief:
Expansion of Taj “Qmin” in-home dining service
Qmin, the in-home dining service recently launched in Mumbai by the Indian Hotels Company, owner of the Taj brand, is now also live in Delhi and Bengaluru.
As we recently explained, the service allows customers to enjoy dishes from the group’s luxury hotel restaurants in the comfort of their own home.
Initially, one could order from eight iconic restaurants in Mumbai, including Golden Dragon and Souk from the Taj Mahal Palace; Thai Pavilion and Trattoria from President; and Ming Yang from Taj Lands’ End.
A Qmin mobile application will be launched this month, followed by loyalty platform integration in September, allowing you to earn and burn points using Qmin services.
Click here to read a review of Qmin, which we compared with Gourmet Couch by ITC - a rival service. Cover picture shows the House of Ming restaurant at the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi.
Air India adds flights from Hyderabad
Air India has added a number of new services from Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi airport.
As noted by Hans India, the national carrier is now flying twice a week from Hyderabad to Dehradun - located in Uttarakhand, near the Himalayan foothills, and one of India’s oldest cities.
Flights run on Sundays and Wednesdays, sometimes with a stop in Bengaluru and are operated by short-haul Airbus aircraft.
Earlier this year, competitor airline Vistara announced its own service to Dehradun (from Delhi), though the service was due to begin at the end of March, so never got off the ground (due to coronavirus).
Air India has also launched triangle flights from Hyderabad, serving Jaipur and Ahmedabad (again with short-haul Airbus aircraft). The service runs three times a week, on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
On those days, flight AI 571 leaves Hyderabad at 1.20pm to reach Jaipur at 3.10pm before taking off again at 4.10pm to reach Ahmedabad at 5.30pm. On the return, the flight leaves Ahmedabad at 6.55pm to reach Hyderabad at 8.30pm.
Nimble Qatar Airways grounds Airbus A380s
Qatar Airways has grounded its fleet of Airbus A380s, concluding that it is not “commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such large aircraft in the current market”.
Taking the strain while the superjumbos rest are smaller and more fuel-efficient Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft which allow Qatar to fly routes where demand is lower.
Qatar Airways group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “We will not resume flying our fleet of A380 until demand returns to appropriate levels.
“Flying such a large aircraft with a low load factor does not meet our environmental responsibilities or make commercial sense. Our young fleet of Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft are a much better fit for current global demand.”
Last week, Qatar Airways became the first international carrier to resume flights to the Maldives since the coronavirus outbreak.
Qatar now offers a daily service to Velana International Airport, the main international airport in the Maldives, and says it will fly to more than 70 global destinations by the end of July.