Thursday, June 30, 2016

Prospective Route: Delhi-Osaka Non-Stop

by Soumen Mukherjee

As it is expected, air passenger traffic between Asian megacities going to dominate the global long-haul air travel market in the coming years. And by 2030 the top 10 Asian megacities will be Tokyo, Delhi, Shanghai, Mumbai, Beijing, Dhaka, Karachi, Osaka, Kolkata and Guangzhou. At present, Delhi is connected to all the above megacities with non-stop flights barring Osaka in Japan. Although Air India operates a three weekly direct flight on the Delhi-Osaka route but it flies via Hong Kong. Air India's one-stop flight on the 6,230 km (3,364 nm) Delhi-Hong Kong-Osaka route is significantly longer than a prospective non-stop flight on the 5,483 km (2,960 nm) Delhi-Osaka route. As a result Air India caters to only 25% of the O&D market. Therefore a non-stop flight would better serve the city-pair and unlock the true potential of the route.

Kansai Airport on an artificial island in the Osaka Bay
Japan being one of the major trade and investment partner of India, there is a growing demand for air travel between the two countries. Currently, the  air-connectivity between Delhi and Tokyo stands at decent level of 18 weekly frequencies. While Mumbai also has a daily flight to Tokyo. But Osaka, the second largest city of Japan still lacks non-stop air-connectivity to Delhi. Situated on an artificial island in the Osaka Bay, Kansai International Airport (Osaka-Kansai) is the primary airport of Osaka handling international flights. 
According to OAG Traffic Analyser's report, the O&D market between Delhi and Osaka was around 45,000 passengers (two-way) in 2015, while Air India's one-stop direct flight could only capture one fourth of that traffic. Air India carried 12,935 passengers (two-way) between the two cities in 2015 and 4,292 passengers in the first quarter of 2016. So a large number of the passengers between the two cities actually fly via Tokyo-Narita and other hubs. 

 Air India's Delhi-Osaka passengers in 2015

Delhi-Osaka pax
Osaka-Delhi pax
Q1 2015
Q2 2015
Q3 2015
Q3 2015

An analysis by OAG Traffic Analyser shows an unserved route in the Asia Pacific with O&D market size between 25,000 and 50,000 annual passengers may be typically stimulated by two fold or more after commencement of non-stop service. On the other hand, a Delhi-Osaka non-stop flight opens up a good opportunity for one-stop connection between Osaka and the Persian Gulf, an area under-represented in the network of Osaka-Kansai Airport. It got only a single daily flight to Dubai operated by Emirates. Delhi is favorably located such there isn't much difference in distances between a non-stop Osaka-Gulf and one-stop Osaka-Gulf via Delhi. Therefore a Delhi based airline with strong Gulf presence should grab a good amount of transfer passengers as well. 
As of today, the O&D market itself is large enough to sustain two to three weekly non-stop flight on the Delhi-Osaka route. And the frequency can be increased to even daily flights later as it develops. Indian carriers with long-haul capacity like Air India, Jet Airways and Vistara (prospective) should really consider opening this route before big Japanese carriers enter into it. 


  1. Can you take a look at the Australia - India and Australia - India - Europe traffic stats? How it might be a case for Air India to provide Delhi-Sydney/Melbourne-Mumbai-Sydney/Melbourne-Delhi like they do with Bangkok. I have been wandering why AirIndia is not thinking that way?

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