Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Delhi Airport hopes to turn aviation hub after Air India sale

The sale of Air India to the Tata Group has reignited Delhi airport's hope of becoming an aviation hub, a top Delhi airport executive told ET.

"There were so many flight opportunities that we had discussed with Air India in the past. The airline, however, could not go ahead with those plans due to various constraints. With the new owners, we expect Delhi to become a hub in this part of the region," Delhi International Airport (DIAL) chief executive officer Videh Jaipuriar said in an interview to ET.

Any airport requires an anchor airline, with very strong international presence, to become a successful hub - Delhi airport did not have that and that will change with Tata acquiring Air India.

After the Delhi airport was upgraded, Air India had shifted its hub from Mumbai to Delhi and was given the largest space at Terminal 3 - it operates both domestic and international operations from the same terminal.

However, lack of funds and other issues did not let Air India expand as aggressively as was required.

Jaipuriar added that transit passengers constitute about 18% of the total traffic of Delhi airport. "With Covid, we see passenger preference moving towards taking direct flights out of India and that will provide a lot of opportunities for airlines under the Tata Group (both Vistara and Air India)," he said.

Jaipuriar said that the idea always was to keep Terminal-3 at the Delhi airport only for full-service carriers as well as international flights.

"With both Air India and Vistara (the only two full-service carriers currently) part of the same group, it will be easier for the airport operator to allocate space," he further said.

He added that Vistara and Air India coming under one owner would help us bring in efficiencies at the Delhi airport, as they would also be sharing infrastructure and resources.

13/10/21 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

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