Indian Carriers Seeking More International Flights, Cut Down on Domestic Ones

There have been reports of reduced domestic air traffic this year as compared with the last year. This decline has been the combined result of increase in prices of air tickets for domestic sector, rising instances of delays and cancellations by the carriers and the generally subdued economic parameters. In this gloomy domestic aviation scenario, the weekly domestic flights have taken a hit as the carriers would now be flying only 11500 flights approximately. However, at the same time, the carriers which are allowed to operate international flights are increasingly looking to foreign lands for increasing their revenues.

In this respect, two developments are noteworthy. One development is that of carriers like IndiGo and Spicejet actually seeking permission to fly more flights in the domestic sectors when the other carriers have scaled down their operations. The other development is of Jet Airways planning to increase the number of international flights to nearby destinations such as Bangkok, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Singapore. This has been in the wake of flights being taken away from Kingfisher airlines which has created a supply gap of 25000 seats. With the shutting down of Kingfisher Airlines, there been a gap of 140 weekly international flights to eight destinations. Jet Airways has also been permission to operate cheap international flights to Frankfurt, Paris, Dusseldorf, Barcelona and Zurich. Its current operations in Europe are limited only to London, Munich and Brussels, where its hub is also located. It has been planning to shift the hub to Munich so as to operate flights to Paris and Milan.

Besides seeking more flights in the domestic sector, IndiGo is also seeking to increase its fleet strength so that it is in a position to beat off the expected competition from AirAsia in future. This will also help in strengthening its position in the market even as it seeks to operate more cheap international flights.

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