Intl carriers bet on India growth story

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai | Updated: Jun 26 2010, 06:06am hrs
International carriers are increasing their flight frequencies to and from India in a bid to cash in on the 20% growth in global air travel from the country. Currently, 1,070 international flights operate per week from various Indian airports. Over 69 international carriers from 49 countries have operations in the country. Airports in metro city are being upgraded to handle volumes that will grow 30-40% by 2014.

Axel Hilgers, Lufthansa's South Asia director, said: By improving connectivity from India's key gateways to four European hubs with an unrivalled number of onward destinations, our airline group supports the demands of the country's growing need for international mobility. The Lufthansa Group carriers -- Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines, along with Lufthansa, provide services to Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich and Vienna.

The airline is set to increase the number of flights from 66 to 75 in the winter schedule.

With a significant improvement in capacity on its Indian network, Swiss will now serve the Delhi-Zurich route daily from six flights a week earlier. Lufthansa and Austrian will also have more frequencies.

IATAs director general and CEO Giovanni Bisignani recently said, The global economy is recovering from the depths of the financial crisis much more quickly than one could have anticipated. Airlines are benefiting from a strong traffic rebound that is providing the industry the necessary push. We thought that it would take at least three years to recover the $81-billion or Rs 37,26,00-crore (14.3%) drop in revenues in 2009. But a top line improvement of the $62 billion (Rs 28,520 crore) this year is encouraging.

Meanwhile, Malaysia-based AirAsia, which had services to seven destinations in India, has recently added Hyderabad. New Delhi will be the ninth destination on its Indian network by August. Tony Fernandes, the airline's founder, is bullish on India operations.

Air Arabia, based in Sharjah, has added two more frequencies on the Goa-UAE sector, thereby taking the number to 106. The carrier operates from 13 destinations in the country.

FlyDubai has just launched operations in India with Lucknow as its maiden destination. It has plans to launch more routes.