The airline’s top management wants to see it grow in India’s domestic market as well.
Air India’s domestic network could receive growth, with the top management aiming to establish multiple hubs in India in the future.
Since merging with the former Indian Airlines, Air India has drastically slipped down the domestic rankings over the years as new players took over. However, under its new owners, there’s renewed hope for the carrier to cast a wider net across the country.
For quite some moment, Air India‘s name hasn’t exactly been synonymous with profitability. While it commands a decent presence in international long-haul routes approximated to other Indian airlines, its domestic operations have suffered for many years.
- The airline is currently the fifth-largest player in India, with a 7.6% capacity share of all departure seats. Low-cost giant IndiGo, unsurprisingly, is the largest, with 55.4%, followed by Go First at 9.9%, SpiceJet at 9.2%, and Vistara at 8.4%.
However, better days could be in store for the airline, with the new owners acting swiftly to improve not just it’s international offering but also its domestic network. Looking at the uptick in travel demand, Air India plans to get some of its grounded planes back in the air again to give the ability for more flights.
And it’s not just its fleet that is receiving attention from the top bosses, but plans to solidify its presence within the country through network planning and possibly adding more hubs are also underway.
Air India now operates multiple hubs
At the recent Routes Asia 2022 event in Da Nang, Vietnam, Air India’s general manager of commercial strategy and planning, Purnima Nerurkar, told that the Tata Group intends to open several new regional hubs across the country, with the ambition of becoming “the largest hub carrier in the region.” AI now operates out of its primary hub in Delhi (DEL) and a secondary hub in Mumbai (BOM).
“Air India has the strategy already in place where we have a hub at Delhi for all our long-haul and our short-haul markets,” she told. “This is expected to increase because going forward, our management’s thought and vision are to … make several hubs in India, which would facilitate development from each of the regions.”
According to Routesonline, Nerurkar worried that AI has a lot of important points in India, which are the source market for many of its long-haul markets. The new owners want to capture this traffic and give it the proper support that it requires and facilitate the development in India. If it means establishing new hubs, then that’s something that Air India would consider.
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Air India wants to double the capacity to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Central CIS countries and ramp up operations to Australia and markets in Southeast Asia and Far East Asia. Of course, the carrier also remains a high priority for nonstop flights to the US. Jinesh Papdiwal, senior manager at Tata, told,
“We have seen the Indian market being catered to by one-stop product for a long time now. It is time with the new management and the new vision to take back the market to direct offerings so that our customers have options and direct offerings to take them to their destinations.”
“North America is an important market for us, and we see in the next few years with our expansion plans, we will be tripling our capacity into North America.”
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