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Indian carriers not even carrying half the international traffic from India

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) data on international traffic in the January-March quarter of 2023 threw up some interesting numbers. Indian carriers had a share of 43.86 percent of International traffic to and from India during the quarter.

This definitely is better than Q4-CY19, the last full quarter before the onset of COVID, when Indian carriers had a 39.2 percent share. That quarter was impacted by the loss of Jet Airways’ capacity. The airline had a sizable international presence and shut down in April 2019. In Q4 - CY18, Indian carriers had 40 percent of international traffic from and to India.

This was the fourth quarter after international services resumed in India post the COVID shutdown with traffic coming very close to pre-COVID levels. Traffic shifting towards Indian carriers is a good sign for the aviation industry in India, especially at a time when Air India has signed an MoU for a large deal with both Airbus and Boeing planes and IndiGo has time and again mentioned how it wants to focus more on international.

IndiGo continues to be the largest carrier ferrying international passengers in and out of India. The airline had 15.79 percent share in Q1 of 2023. It was followed by Air India at 12.6 percent. Interestingly, Emirates, which has been at the forefront of lobbying for more seats to India, was third and carried 9.21 percent of all traffic.

Air India Express, the low cost arm of Air India, which will also absorb AirAsia India by November this year, was fourth with 7.4 percent. This could go up significantly as the airline has only 24 aircraft and many more inductions are planned starting later this year. Singapore Airlines, which will have a 25.1 percent stake in Air India next March, stood fifth at 3.54 percent.

SpiceJet and Vistara were the other Indian carriers in the top 10 and stood in the seventh and eighth position. The West Asian trio of Qatar Airways (sixth), Air Arabia (ninth) and Etihad (tenth) completed the top 10 airlines carrying international traffic to and from India.


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