Thursday, August 18, 2022

Five months after restoration of overseas flights, why are Indian carriers missing on so many routes?

August is the fifth full month of overseas flights after the lifting of restrictions on international operations. International traffic has returned to near pre-COVID levels faster than domestic traffic. This return was characterised by two opposing things, first the chaos in Europe due to staff shortages and second the new flights and destinations being offered from India in light of countries looking to diversify their original source markets.

Data shared by global travel data provider OAG Aviation exclusively for this article shows that August will have 302 city pairs which will see international flight operations to/from India. A staggering 45%, or 137 of these, won’t have an Indian carrier present on it. As IndiGo talks of international expansion and Air India looks to induct additional wide-body aircraft, it shows a mix of opportunity that lies ahead and what has been missed thus far.

Interestingly, the top route where Indian carriers are absent is to Kuala Lumpur. IndiGo was the only Indian carrier to operate to Kuala Lumpur from the Indian side and the airline is yet to return to it with full force. Kuala Lumpur is home to AirAsia, which has restored flights to India significantly. There is no Indian carrier to Kuala Lumpur from Trichy, Delhi, Bengaluru, Kochi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. These are the airports from where AirAsia Bhd, AirAsia X or Batik Malaysia are offering flights.

High on the list is Colombo, which has seen a lot of airlines take the plunge as tourism was seeing a new high pre-COVID. But the current times are different. Amid economic and political instability, while SriLankan Airlines operates to India and is also taking additional technical stops at Chennai and Trivandrum for its long- haul flights due to shortage of fuel in Colombo, Indian carriers have restricted themselves to operating minimal flights from just Chennai. That has left a void to Colombo from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kochi where SriLankan Airlines operates but none of the Indian ones do.

Indian carriers are absent on routes to Abu Dhabi from Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad and to Dubai from Kolkata. While IndiGo launched flights to Bahrain from Mumbai recently, there is no Indian carrier flying to Bahrain from Chennai or Hyderabad.

The situation is similar on flights to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa from Delhi and Mumbai and to Singapore from Hyderabad and Kochi. These are all sectors which have at least a daily flight operated by a foreign carrier. There are many other sectors which have less than daily flights and are without competition from Indian counterparts. When flights are daily, it signifies that there is a sizable amount of traffic airlines are carrying.

18/08/22 Ameya Joshi/Moneycontrol

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment