Trade in the world’s second largest diamond hub is set to boom with the launch of the first flight between Surat in western India and Dubai.
The state-owned carrier will launch the new service on May 15, a spokesman from Air India told Inc. Arabia.
“It will be thrice a week, and passengers can enjoy the trip with the ultra modern facilities of a Dreamliner aircraft,” Dhananjay Kumar said.
The route looks to be specifically catering to one of the world’s busiest diamond trade channels.
Around 30% of rough diamonds are imported to Dubai from diamond producing countries like Angola, South Africa, Canada, Russia, Australia, Botswana, and Brazil.
Once in Dubai, teams of mostly Gujarati workers at rough diamond companies sort the gems to suit the particular size, color and shape requirements of factory-owners in India, where 90% of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished.
The new service will provide factory owners and diamond traders with a direct route to Dubai, where they can see the stones before they buy, Peter Meeus, chairman of Dubai Diamond Exchange said.
“This is great news,” Meeus told Inc. Arabia. “As the second largest hub for trading in rough diamonds, direct flights between Surat and Dubai will facilitate Surat diamantaires to hop over easily without having to fly to Mumbai.”
Dubai is also ideally situated between Africa, exporter of 65% of the world’s gems, and India, the largest importer of diamonds in the world, Meeus added.
“Logistics are essential in trade flow. The ease of doing business is of great importance, and we are confident that this will grow the business between UAE and India substantially in the diamond trade.”
Dubai’s total rough diamond trade has soared from $3.03 billion (Dhs11.12 billion) in 2008 to $25.5 billion (Dhs 93 billion) in 2015.