Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Air India, arm narrows gap with Jet-Etihad

New Delhi: India saw 6.3 crore international travellers last year, up 7.3% from 5.9 crore in 2017. While Jet Airways remained the single largest airline for flying people in and out of India, its financial troubles coupled with the downsizing of partner Etihad saw the two airlines together account for 1-crore-six-lakh international travellers, down from 1.1 crore in 2017. In fact, the Air India and AI Express together flew almost as many people in and out of India last year as the Jet-Etihad combine, with the latter ahead by just 18,892 passengers! Incidentally, the AI-AI Express carried more than 1 crore international passengers for the first time last year.
Last year saw some significant shakeups in the top 10 list of standalone airlines for international travel. While Jet, AI and Emirates retained the top three positions in 2018 like 2017, IndiGo pipped AI Express to become the fourth largest international player in India last year. Thanks to adding a-plane-a-week in 2018 and deploying additional capacity on international routes, IndiGo saw its overseas passengers number swell 48% to 41.8 lakh from 28.3 lakh in 2017. AI Express swapped places with IndiGo and became the fifth biggest player.
SpiceJet moved two places up from number 9 in 2017 to seventh spot in 2018 by overtaking Qatar Airways and Oman Air for international travel to and from India last year. The silent rise of Sri Lankan, which is successfully replicating Gulf airlines’ model of flying people between India and rest of the world through their hubs, appeared in the top 10 list by occupying the number 9 slot. Qatar Airways, which was the seventh largest international airline in terms of flying passengers to and from India in 2017, is now at number 10.
GoAir became the sixth Indian carrier to start flying abroad (after AI, AI Express, Jet, IndiGo and SpiceJet) last October. It saw 42,478 international flyers last year. The request of Tata Group JV airlines, Vistara and AirAsia India, to start flights abroad is being reviewed by the government.
13/03/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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