Foreign airlines fighting for share of Indian flyer pie
NEW DELHI: The Indian globetrotter is being wooed like never before by foreign airlines. Since Indian carriers have a meagre one-third share in the pie of international traffic to and from India, airlines from abroad are putting their best foot forward here. While domestic air travel is growing at the fastest place globally in India, even international traffic is growing in double digits here — a rarity in today’s allowing world economy.
As a result, foregoing airlines are deploying their latest planes to India. Air Canada and British Airways, for instance, put their first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on Delhi routes. Air Canada used this plane to restart its Delhi-Toronto nonstop after eight years from Tuesday. Its previous nonstop on this route was actually a one stop with a fueling halt in Zurich.
Last week, British Airways had also deployed its first B 787-9 on Delhi route to lure passengers. Etihad on Tuesday said it will fly the Airbus A-380 on Mumbai-Abu Dhabi route from. Already airlines like Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Emirates use the aircraft on India route.
Foreign airlines boast of Internet on their long haul aircraft, including the ones deployed on India routes. Bars, showers, humidifiers and suites are common features in their premium classes.
So where does that leave Indian carriers in the race to fly people in and out of the country? Air India joined Star Alliance to lure flyers with the network of the Alliance and accompanying benefits like burning miles on any airline in Star. It is adding nonstops to US. Jet has tied up with Etihad and offers links to the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s wide network to its flyers.
These are the only two Indian carriers that have wide body planes to fly long haul routes.
The Tata-SIA JV Vistara also has plans to quickly induct wide body planes to fly as far off as Europe and Americas if India relaxes the rules for its airlines to go abroad. In fact, there is talk of Vistara even looking at A-380s in its fleet which it can get from its foreign parent.
Low cost IndiGo and SpiceJet are inducting narrow body planes and will increase their foreign footprint in nearby countries with a flying time of maximum five hours.
Read full article: The Times of India