Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Qatar Airways and Etihad set to battle over Indian market

Two Middle East airlines are set to battle it out on who gains the most out of one of the fastest-growing markets in the world, India. Reports indicate that Qatar Airways will announce a codeshare agreement with IndiGo, the biggest airline in the South Asia country, while Etihad, partnered with Air Arabia, is looking to establish a new low-cost carrier to make use of Etihad’s slots acquired when Jet Airways, a former partner in business, closed its doors for good.

For the two Middle East airlines, the move is important – for different reasons, both are not exactly living in their Golden Ages. Etihad reported a net loss of $1.28 billion in 2018, while Qatar Airways announced very frugal results in FY2019 – a loss of $639 million. While the former suffered a lot of financial damage due to failed investments in several airlines, including airberlin and the aforementioned Jet Airways, the latter is operating under a blockade of airspace in the region, massively increasing Qatar Airways’ expenses bill.
Nevertheless, the message is clear – as India’s market is set to grow over the coming years, the two carriers are looking to make a move into the country and strengthen their commercial positions there.

For the past few years, international traffic has been growing steadily in India. Throughout 2015-2016, the total international traffic amounted to 49.7 million; in 2016-2017 it was 54.6 million and the latest data indicates that in 2017-2018, 60.5 million international passengers landed or departed from India’s airports. Going further back, international traffic has not stopped growing since 2004-2005, according to data provided by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India.

Looking at country-specific statistics, DGCA data indicates that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is by far the biggest international market:

In Q1 2019, 28.7% of passengers either landed or flew to UAE, while traffic to Qatar amounted to 5.3%. In Q1 2018, UAE’s share was 30.2%, while Qatar’s was 5.5%. Similarly, in Q1 2017, UAE traffic was 33.2%, while Qatar’s was 5.1%.
06/11/19 Aerotime Hub

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