Thursday, July 7, 2016

Top 5 underserved routes from Delhi Airport

by Soumen Mukherjee
According to OAG traffic analyser's report, nine of the top 50 underserved international routes globally either start or end in India. With a significant amount of O&D passenger traffic moving between a city-pair via an intermediate hub, these underserved city-pairs represent potential for additional non-stop capacity. Delhi being India's major aviation hub and prime international gateway, five such underserved routes originate from Delhi Airport. At present all top five underserved routes from Delhi are either served by non-stop flight or about to have non-stop connectivity in the coming months.





Delhi-San Francisco: This sector had the maximum number of passengers flying via one-stop flights from India in 2015 as it did not have even a non-stop flight for most part of the year. According OAG traffic analyser's report a total of 1,65,117 passengers (one-way) flew from Delhi to San Francisco via intermediate hubs which was the 12th largest underserved city-pair globally in 2015. In early December 2015, Air India launched three weekly non-stop flight on DEL-SFO route on board its 238 seater Boeing 777-200LR and carried 2,888 passengers (one-way) from Delhi to San Francisco in the first month as per DGCA international city-pair passenger data. In 2016 the full year non-stop seat-capacity stands at only 37,128 (one-way) at the current frequency and equipment which is even less than one fourth of the O&D traffic in 2015. Although AI mulls a re-configuration of its B77L cabin with all eight first-class seats being replaced with additional economy seats but that will lead to only marginal increase in the seat capacity. With 452 daily O&D passengers (one-way) on an average the DEL-SFO route presents a strong case for additional non-stop capacity.

Delhi-Riyadh: This sector had the second largest number passengers of flying via one-stop flights in 2015 although it is served by multiple non-stop flights. According OAG traffic analyser's report a total of 1,42,894 passengers (one-way) flew from Delhi to Riyadh via intermediate hubs which was the 22nd largest underserved city-pair globally in 2015. Air India operates three weekly non-stop flight on DEL-RUH route on board its 342 seater Boeing 777-300ER and Saudia operates four weekly non-stop flight on DEL-RUH route on board its 341 seater Boeing 777-200ER and both the carrier together carried 91,652 passengers (one-way) from Delhi to Riyadh in 2015 as per DGCA international city-pair passenger data. The full year seat-capacity on the route stands at 1,24,280 (one-way) which is just above half of the O&D traffic on the route (one-stop & non-stop) in 2015.

Delhi-New York: This sector is already served well but still even greater number of passengers were recorded to fly via one-stop flightsAccording OAG traffic analyser's report a total of 1,21,489 passengers (one-way) flew from Delhi to New York (JFK) via intermediate hubs which was the 42nd largest underserved city-pair globally in 2015. Air India operates daily non-stop flight on DEL-JFK route on board its 342 seater Boeing 777-300ER and carried 83,071 passengers (one-way) from Delhi to New York JFK in 2015 as per DGCA international city-pair passenger data. Although United operates daily flight between Delhi and Newark in the greater New York region which carried 73,830 passenger (one-way) in 2015. But the O&D passenger traffic flying one-stop on DEL-JFK route itself is large enough for additional non-stop capacity in this sector. 

Delhi-Vancouver: This sector, with around 2.5 lakh O&D passengers flying via intermediate hub, has remained unserved as of today. Although Air Canada is scheduled to launch three weekly non-stop on board its 298 seater Boeing 787-9. The seasonal service on the route will be operated between 20 October 2016 and 8 April 2017. According OAG traffic analyser's report a total of 1,17,840 passengers (one-way) flew from Delhi to Vancouver via intermediate hubs which was the 45th largest underserved city-pair globally in 2015. Although the seasonal variation in demand is relatively higher in this route and the traffic is mostly in the low-yield economy-class. Still with 322 daily O&D passengers (one-way) on an average the DEL-YVR route presents a good case for more non-stop flight and it would be better to have a round the year service.   

Delhi-Melbourne: This sector had more than three times passengers flying one-stop via intermediate hubs than passengers flying non-stop. According OAG traffic analyser's report a total of 1,13,761 passengers (one-way) flew from Delhi to Melbourne via intermediate hubs which was the 50th largest underserved city-pair globally in 2015. Air India operates three weekly non-stop flight on DEL-MEL route on board its 256 seater Boeing 787-8 and carried 34,907 passengers (one-way) from Delhi to Melbourne in 2015 as per DGCA international city-pair passenger data. Now Air India is planning to increase DEL-MEL frequency from three weekly to five weekly flights by the year end. And that will lead the full year seat-capacity to 66,560 (one-way ) which is only around half of the O&D traffic in 2015.

The above underserved routes are potentially good business opportunities for Indian carriers to launch new non-stop flights to the above destinations from Delhi. Air India which already serves San Francisco, Riyadh, Melbourne and New York (JFK) should consider increasing the frequency on these sectors. Delhi-Vancouver sector which is going to have seasonal service by Air Canada, is a good potential route for Air India. United, which recently launched San Francisco-Singapore non-stop flight on board its Boeing 787-9, may consider launching San Francisco-Delhi non-stop flight as well which is a shorter route than the former. Jet Airways which dropped its last US destination Newark in end March 2016, is unlikely to launch new US flight. But with wide-body aircraft re-entering fleet , the carrier may go for new long-haul destinations in the coming months. Vistara, the new full-service carrier is expected to launch international service in 2018. The carrier is believed to have strong international ambition and therefore most likely candidate to taste these underserved routes from Delhi Airport which is also its hub.

3 comments:

  1. Dear Soumen,

    Thank you for yet another informative article.

    Out of 5 city pairs that you elaborated, DEL-SFO intrigued me in many ways.
    It is grossly underserved for one thing, the second being that non-stop flights will always be far and few for this sector.

    Since a 777-200LR is the only aircraft (barring the out of service A340-500) that can operate this route, there remain very few possibilities.
    AI can't increase its frequency to daily, due to lack of additional 77L aircraft. One roundtrip requires 2 aircraft, and AI only has 3 in its fleet.

    Only other carrier that can connect this two cities is UA in my opinion, due to its hub at SFO. UA doesn't have a single aircraft that is required for this mission. They will only get their A350s after 2018.

    What are your thoughts about a non-stop mission on this sector?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the detailed information Soumen. Do you have a similar report of underserved routes for Bengaluru Airport also that you are planning to publish? I was more interested on the O&D traffic between BLR <--> SFO, it would be great if you could share that info.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Air Canada has announced Delhi to Vancouver, so #10 will be covered soon

    http://vancouversun.com/business/local-business/yvrs-new-air-canada-flight-to-delhi-means-new-business-for-locals?__lsa=e94f-bd98

    ReplyDelete