Bengaluru, Hyderabad airports are buzzing thanks to small airlines - Hindustan Times

Bengaluru, Hyderabad airports are buzzing thanks to small airlines

Apr 25, 2024 11:19 AM IST

Bengaluru and Hyderabad will see 10 airlines operating domestic services this season.

A shift in schedule typically starts with new flights, new stations and this summer has been no different. From return of services to Nanded, Adampur by Star Air, SpiceJet returning to Pakyong and IndiGo launching flights to Jagdalpur and Agatti - the domestic market was abuzz with enthusiasm.

An Air India aircraft takes off at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on April 12, 2024.(AFP)
An Air India aircraft takes off at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on April 12, 2024.(AFP)

The international segment was not left behind with Lufthansa upgrading its Munich flights to the A380, Virgin Atlantic launching its third city in India-Bengaluru and Vistara upgrading its services to Bali.

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With a schedule approval which spans across 125 domestic airports, this summer is likely to be the best ever for airlines, despite the challenges with Vistara. Data shared by Cirium, an aviation analytics company, exclusively for this article shows schedules for 116 airports in India.

Also read: Up, Up and Away: Traffic increased at almost all airports in India last fiscal

Airports with maximum airlines

Bengaluru and Hyderabad will see 10 airlines operating domestic services this season. The top eight airlines are present at all six metros. The difference which adds to the count for Bengaluru and Hyderabad are operations by Star Air and fly91, making it 10 each. Delhi sees Zooom Air, while Star Air flies from Hindon. Mumbai sees operations by Star Air. Kolkata also sees nine airlines serving domestic routes, with the ninth being IndiaOne air. Chennai sees only 8 airlines in operations. Guwahati and Jaipur also see eight airlines, while Pune sees nine airlines.

Of the 116 airports, 40 are such which see only one airline in operation. 15 out of 40 see only IndiGo, 13 see only Alliance Air, four each see only IndiaOne Air, SpiceJet and Star Air.

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Top routes

Mumbai - Delhi remains the top route in the country with 388 weekly frequencies while Delhi - Mumbai will see 383 weekly frequencies. This is followed by the Delhi - Bengaluru - Delhi route where there are 264 scheduled frequencies each way, per week. Mumbai - Bengaluru - Mumbai comes in next with 251 weekly frequencies per week, followed by Delhi - Hyderabad - Delhi at 175 weekly frequencies. Delhi - Pune - Delhi completes the top five with 163 weekly frequencies. Of the 1077 sectors which are seeing operations in the country, there are only 36 sectors which see more than 100 flights a week. Interestingly, there are seven such sectors which see only one flight a week.

Also read: Air India set to fly Dubai with Airbus A350 planes

Top Airports and connections

The domestic traffic in India might be growing, but the top six cities cater to 54% of it. Delhi - the largest airport in the country has 15% of all departures. Bengaluru is now inching closer to Mumbai and almost neck to neck with Mumbai for domestic departures. There is a high chance that Bengaluru will handle more domestic flights than Mumbai sometime during the summer schedule and this will translate to more passengers as well.

Delhi sees non-stop flights to 72 airports in the country, followed by Bengaluru which has non-stop flights to 68 destinations in India. Hyderabad comes in next with 63 while Mumbai follows at number four position with 59 destinations being connected non-stop in India.

Kolkata and Chennai follow with 51 and 41 points each being connected.

There are 10 airports with just one destination being connected, while there are 20 airports which are connected to only two destinations. A total of 29 airports are such which are connected to 10 or more airports in the country.

IndiGo or Tata power

Amongst the top 20 airports in the country, only one sees the four airlines from Tata group having the same capacity as IndiGo. At Bagdogra, IndiGo has 31% of all departures, which is matched by the sum of three Tata group airlines operating there.

At fourteen of the top 20 airports, IndiGo has over 50% share of frequencies. In Delhi and Mumbai, the share is 45% and 47% respectively. Considering how long it is taking AIX Connect (erstwhile AirAsia India) to merge with Air India Express, the consolidated airline taking on IndiGo is delayed, if not deferred. Even with all the planned mergers going ahead, there will still be two airlines in the stable for the Tata group.

In this medley, a look at Akasa Air shows that it is likely to slip a position at Bengaluru, but the airline is third at Ahmedabad, and second at Pune and Mopa, Goa - an achievement in itself.

Also read: Air traffic shift: Bharat is finally catching up with India

Tail Note

The battle between IndiGo and Tata group is going to get better from here on with the induction plan of both. The groundings at IndiGo may be god sent for the Air India group, but will Boeing keep up with the delivery speed of MAXs? Will the duopoly like scenario be better for passengers who have seen many airlines collapse in the past or will it be bitter from the cost perspective? The answer would lie on the other side of summer.

Ameya Joshi is an aviation research analyst.

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