Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Indian carriers' share in international traffic up by 2.6%

New Delhi: This is one "made by Indians" programme that is showing the desired results.
Last year, 5.9 crore people flew in and out of India - up 11.3% from 5.3 crore in 2016. Indian carriers saw their share in this traffic going up to 38.6%, up a significant 2.6% in just one year from 36% in 2016. The jump came mainly on the back of a solid 58% increase in international passengers flown by IndiGo, followed by soon-to-be-privatised Air India express which saw 20% jump in this traffic.
Since the liberal grant of bilaterals to the Gulf, especially Dubai, by the previous UPA regime had become a controversy, the Modi government has not given more flying rights despite demand from all big players like Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad. As a result, the 11% growth in international traffic to and from India seen in 2017 over 2016 is mainly a result of more passengers being carried by Indian airlines.
Five Indian airlines fly abroad - Air India, AI Express, Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet. In 2016, these five accounted for 1.9 crore of the 5.3 crore passengers who flew in and out of India, which means a share of 36% in overall traffic. In 2017, they accounted for 2.3 crore of the 5.9 crore international traffic which saw their share go up to 38.6% - a jump of 2.6% in just a year.
But where the 'tortoise' of Indian carriers of overtook the 'hare' of foreign carriers is in these numbers. The five desi airlines saw 21% jump in international passengers in 2017 over 2016 while the growth for foreign carriers was less than athird at 5.9%. To be sure, a major part of this growth in passenger carriage by Indian carriers is to nearby countries where the single aisle planes of IndiGo A-320) and AI Express (B-737) fly. The medium and long haul market is dominated by foreign airlines as only AI (up to US and Australia) and Jet (farthest destination being Toronto) fly to the distant places.
"IndiGo has been growing aggressively by adding flights to nearby countries which has seen this mega jump in its international traffic. Had the engine crisis on the Airbus A-320 Neo not slowed down delivery of new planes to IndiGo and GoAir (which does not fly abroad currently), this year would have seen a much bigger jump in share of Indian carriers in overall international traffic to and from the country. GoAir has officially blamed delayed delivery of Neos as the reason for its launch of international flights getting postponed," said an airline official who did not wish to be quoted.
21/02/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India