Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Air India revival to help boost Delhi airport hub traffic, says DIAL chief

Mumbai: GMR-run Delhi airport expects hub traffic to surge to 25 per cent in three years as the now cash-strapped Air India will expand its domestic and international network under the stewardship of Tatas, according to a senior official.

The Indira Gandhi International Airport, operated by DIAL, is the country's largest aerodrome and is already the hub for Air India, Vistara and IndiGo.

Currently, Delhi airport accounts for 15 per cent hub traffic. Hubs serve as a key point for airlines to operate flights to various destinations, including stopovers and connecting services.

Besides, Jet Airways, under the new owner Kalrock-Jalan Consortium, will be making Delhi airport as the base once its restarts operations from 2022. Prior to its grounding in April 2019, the airline was operating most of its flights from Mumbai.

Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuriar told PTI that Tata Group coming on board Air India is definitely a very positive move. As the airline is cash-strapped, it is actually affecting its operations and growth plan, which obviously is affecting other stakeholders, including airports, he added.

He hoped that the salt-to-software conglomerate will retain Delhi airport as the hub for Air India's operations as the aerodrome is the biggest hub full of potential.

"We are missing this potential because we didn't have a very strong anchor airline here unlike most of the hub airports (in other countries)," he said on Tuesday.

Even though Delhi is the hub airport for Air India, the airline was neither expanding its fleet nor the network internationally. With availability of cash, Tata Group-led Air India will expand much faster and help the airport in hub operations, Jaipuriar said.

"Currently, our hub operation is about 18 per cent of the total traffic -- domestic and international. I expect that to go up to about 25 per cent in the next three years or less and it should improve further because in the hub operations, the benefit is for everybody, whether it is airline or airport," he said.

13/10/21 PTI/Business Standard

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