Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Airport capacity shortage a roadblock for overseas foray into India

New Delhi: The two Tata group-owned airlines Vistara and AirAsia India are busy chalking out their international expansion plans, but limited bilateral flying rights and a capacity shortage at Indian airports are among the challenges before them, company executives and industry analysts said.
Major airports like Delhi and Mumbai are choked with air traffic, restricting the addition of new flights, while constrained flying rights may narrow the scope of the two airlines to expand in the Middle East and Asian markets.
AirAsia India has been unable to start operations from Mumbai, while Vistara has been forced to add late-night flights from the city as slots were not available during the peak hours.
The Mumbai airport has a single runway and is equipped to handle only up to 45 aircraft movements in an hour.
“Entry into a market is driven by a couple of factors -- it should make economic sense for us, and we do it with a long-term plan. Right now, Mumbai is slot-constrained. Very honestly, there is no place to land or take off. We will get to Mumbai as and when the infrastructure allows,” said Amar Abrol, chief executive officer, AirAsia India.
It’s important to have a meaningful presence at the Mumbai airport for any airline with international aspirations because passengers travelling abroad look for connecting flights. “A strong presence in Mumbai helps get good passenger feed for international routes,” said a travel agent.
10/01/18 Arindam Majumder/Business Standard