Skift Take

By bringing its new flagship plane to Dubai, Air India is making a statement of intent about its global ambitions. 

Air India’s new flagship has made its debut on the international stage. On Wednesday night, Flight AI995 departed Delhi for Dubai, operated by an Airbus A350-900 for the first time. 

Until this week, the new widebody plane had been flying domestically, linking key Indian cities including Chennai and Hyderabad.  

Air India’s decision to place the A350 on the Delhi to Dubai route before any other is notable.

The UAE city is one of the largest transit hubs anywhere on the planet. Emirates, its hometown airline, is the world’s biggest international carrier, with almost a million passengers flying through Dubai each week.

Data from Cirium Diio shows Emirates alone provides tens of thousands of seats a week to and from India.

Along with other mega-airports in the region such as Doha (home to Qatar Airways) and Abu Dhabi (home to Etihad), the Gulf serves as a critical location for global connections. The r