India has always desired to become a major aviation hub. Now that domestic airlines and airports are cooperating, this ideal is slowly but surely coming true.
A hub airport serves as a connecting point for air travellers to reach their destination. An individual travelling on Emirates from India might arrive in Dubai (a hub) and then board another Emirates flight to London.
Similar to this, an Indian traveller flying from the US to India might touch down in Doha (Qatar Airways' hub) before arriving at this location.
In order for travellers from all around India to first fly to these hubs and then link onward to international destinations, airlines and airports are attempting to turn Indian cities into transportation hubs.
The two new foreign chief executive officers of IndiGo and Air India have made this crystal obvious. Both have stated that they are concentrating on foreign traffic to and from India while maintaining an eye on the home market.
As part of that plan, IndiGo launched a flight to Ras-Al-Khaimah, its 100th destination, at the end of September.
This is a wise move considering the underutilised RAK airport and the great road connections to Sharjah and Dubai, both of which IndiGo serves.
Flyers who wish to visit Ras-Al-Khaimah no longer need to fly to Dubai and then figure out how to get there thanks to IndiGo's direct service.
Additionally, this means that there will be more tickets available on IndiGo's India-Dubai route.
Things for the low-cost carrier in terms of international and domestic passenger transportation may only get better with the arrival of the Airbus Extra Long-Range aircraft in the fleet in 2024–2025.
With the use of this aircraft, IndiGo would be able to connect Indian passengers with places that its present aircraft cannot reach.
Beijing, Seoul, and European locations like Amsterdam, Paris, and London may be among them.
Similar to this, Air India is eager to increase its domestic reach under Wilson Campbell, adding more flights and having additional hubs, including one in South India.
According to Campbell, Air India should eventually become a major player in the fifth and sixth freedom markets that Middle Eastern airlines like Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar, European airlines like KLM, and South East Asian airlines like Singapore Airlines have successfully been able to syphon off of Indian carriers.
Along with those travellers who will be completely independent due to Air India being an Indian carrier and connecting people between point A and point B for which India is a practical and logical intermediate point, the airline is also keeping an eye on destinations where India has business links or is developing business links.
In order to provide travellers more options, Air India is also trying to order more aircraft with longer nonstop ranges.
Airports, particularly those in metro areas, are also doing a lot to help India become a major aviation centre.
A case in point is the Delhi airport which was declared the largest mega-hub in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by the Haneda airport in Japan in September. Mumbai and Bengaluru were also counted among the top 50 international mega-hubs.
Now with Indian airlines and airports working together, the flow of international passengers from India, which is heavily skewed in favour of international carriers, can be moderated.
This will not happen overnight, but steps to skew the about 20 per cent of global traffic from India carried by Indian carriers can only head northwards with the steps being taken.
The international-to-international (I-to-I) transfer space at the Delhi airport has doubled in size, covering over 3,000 square metres, according to a recent announcement.
For travellers arriving from one international place and departing from Delhi, this will make for a quick and effective airport experience.
Indian airlines have already begun to make the necessary small steps. For instance, it is customary for foreign travellers to fly from Bangkok to Delhi on Vistara before continuing on to other international cities like Kathmandu and Dhaka.