GMR-run Delhi airport expects hub traffic to surge to 25 percent in three years as the now cash-strapped Air India will expand its domestic and international network under the stewardship of Tatas
GMR-run Delhi airport expects hub traffic to surge to 25 percent in three years as the now cash-strapped Air India will increase its domestic and international network under the stewardship of Tatas, according to a senior official.
Indira Gandhi International Airport
- 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 percent of hub traffic. Hubs serve as a key point for airlines to operate flights to various destinations, including delays and joining services.
Besides, Jet Airways, under the new owner Kalrock-Jalan Consortium, will be progressing Delhi airport to the base once its restarts operations from 2022.
Before its grounding in April 2019, the airline was operating most of its flights from Mumbai.
Tata Group coming on board Air India
Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) CEO Video 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 increase strategy, which certainly is changing other stakeholders, including airports, he added.
He believed 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.
Delhi is the hub airport for Air India
Even though Delhi is the hub airport for Air India, the airline was neither expanding its fleet nor the network internationally. With the availability of resources, Tata Group-led Air India will expand much faster and support the airport in hub operations, Jaipuriar said.
“Currently, our hub operation is about 18 percent of the total traffic — domestic and international.
I suppose that to go up to about 25 percent in the next three years or shorter and it should develop further because, in the hub operations, the benefit is for everybody, whether it is airline or airport,” he told.
According to him, Air India will be able to meet up the demand for direct long-haul flights from India, which are quite limited after the grounding of Jet Airways.
Fly to Germany or North America directly
Air India is the only airline with wide-body aircraft which could fly to Germany or North America directly, among other destinations.
“… in fact, a lot of our transfer traffic as well as the direct traffic we lost to the Middle East. Therefore, with Tatas coming in, and they have also a long haul in Vistara, I see that long haul traffic to North America and Europe is going to go up which means good business for all the stakeholders, including airport,” he pointed out.
Additionally, there was a big dip in full-service carriers’ market share after Jet Airways shut down. It was low-cost carriers that were making growth and “we understand a lot of demand from many travelers for the full-service carrier that’s where you will find that with Vistara is normally doing pretty well in terms of load factor”, Jaipuriar said.
With enough funds available, Air India’s operations level is expected to go up
There will also be more business class seats and more full-service carrier seats, which will be good from the airport economics point of view as well as the traveler convenience and tourist fees, he said.