Friday, July 22, 2016

Underserved Route: Kolkata-Pune

by Soumen Mukherjee

Kolkata and Pune, the two major cities of the East and West India, are served by the fifth busiest and ninth busiest airports in India respectively. But the direct air connectivity between Kolkata and Pune is not yet fully developed as only one daily non-stop flight and three one-stop direct flights are operational on the route as of date. In fact Kolkata is the only metro city which receives just one daily non-stop flight from Pune. Still a rapid increase has been experienced in the demand of air travel between the two cities in recent times. In May 2016, a total of 19,323 O&D passengers (two-way) have traveled between Kolkata and Pune, reporting a 26% growth from almost a year ago.
As a result more number of passengers are forced to travel on one-stop flights than on non-stop flight between Kolkata and Pune. Now, this lack of adequate air connectivity makes a very good prospect for any new direct flight between the city-pair. But getting suitable slots to launch new flights from Pune is a major challenge, Pune International Airport which just crossed 5 million annual passenger volume in 2015 growing at 29%, faces severe capacity constrains. It also imposes curfew during the morning peak hours as it operates out of a civil enclave in the Lohegaon military air base.








Domestic city-pair passenger data released by DGCA shows how the Kolkata-Pune O&D passenger traffic has grown in the past 10 months. Even considering the seasonal variation in demands, the rise in the passenger volume has been significantIn May 2016, a total of 9,545 passengers traveled from Pune to Kolkata. And an estimated 4,244 passengers availed the non-stop (one daily by IndiGo) flight, given IndiGo's average 84% load factor in the last 10 months. IndiGo's Pune-Kolkata non-stop flight 6E 523 flies onward to Imphal further shrinking the Pune-Kolkata non-stop capacity. In the same month 292 passengers or roughly 10 passengers traveled daily from Pune to Imphal via Kolkata. Which implies an estimated 5,301 passengers traveled on the three one-stop flight. And each of the three one-stop flights carried average 60 daily passengers from Pune to Kolkata.

Month
CCU-PNQ pax
PNQ-CCU pax
Total pax
Aug-15
7,856
7,427
15,283
Sep-15
7,101
7,521
14,622
Oct-15
7,710
8,141
15,851
Nov-15
7,789
8,363
16,152
Dec-15
8,963
8,672
17,635
Jan-16
9,510
9,163
18,673
Feb-16
9,545
9,177
18,722
Mar-16
9,929
9,972
19,901
Apr-16
8,241
9,401
17,642
May-16
9,778
9,545
19,323

Currently, IndiGo is the only airline to fly non-stop flights on the route. It had launched its non-stop flight on the route back in January 2014 and so far maintained the frequency to one daily only, it also operates an one-stop flight on the route.
Share of CCU-PNQ seat-capacity in July'16
At present, IndiGo and SpiceJet operate one-stop direct flight between Kolkata and Pune via Bengaluru. While Jet Airways operates one-stop direct flight via its Mumbai hub. Although, Kolkata-Bengaluru-Pune flight path (2,272 km) is considerably longer than Kolkata-Pune non-stop flight (1,579 km), still Bengaluru is best suited for an intermediate stop between Kolkata and Pune as passenger traffic to Bengaluru are high from both the end. It is the second busiest route from Pune and third busiest route from Kolkata as of May 2016. Given the slots are made available at Pune Airport, airlines must consider adding new capacity either on non-stop route or at least on one-stop route via Bengaluru. Vistara is scheduled to launch new double daily flights to Bengaluru from its Kolkata base in October 2016. Now it would be interesting to see whether the full-service airline provides one-stop Kolkata-Pune direct connectivity by extending Kolkata-Bengaluru flight up to Pune. 

Kolkata-Pune non-stop schedule
Flight No
Origin: Departure
Destination: Arrival
6E 794
Kolkata: 19:10
Pune: 21:45

6E 523
Pune: 06:05
Kolkata: 08:40

Kolkata-Pune one-stop schedule
Flight No
Origin: Departure
Destination: Arrival
via
9W 618
Kolkata: 06:20
Pune: 10:50
Mumbai
SG 514
Kolkata: 06:55
Pune: 11:40
Bengaluru
6E 202
Kolkata: 12:55
Pune: 17:25
Bengaluru

6E 135
Pune: 14:25
Kolkata: 18:40
Bengaluru
SG 517
Pune: 15:50
Kolkata: 20:35
Bengaluru
9W 617
Pune: 17:40
Kolkata: 21:55
Mumbai
*
IndiGo flight 6E 523 operates on PNQ-CCU-IMF route.
IndiGo flight 6E 135 operates on DEL-NAG-PNQ-BLR-CCU route.
SpiceJet flight SG 517 operates on GOI-PNQ-BLR-CCU route.
Jet Airways flight 9W 617 operates on PNQ-BOM-CCU route.


IndiGo flight 6E 794 operates on CCU-PNQ route.  
IndiGo flight 6E 135 operates on IMF-CCU-BLR-PNQ-NAG-DEL route.
SpiceJet flight SG 514 operates on CCU-BLR-PNQ-GOI route.
Jet Airways flight 9W 617 operates on CCU-BOM-PNQ route.

4 comments:

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