Indian airline sector has been observing tremendous growth in recent times. Industry studies show that that the growth will be phenomenal in coming years as well. If we look at the growth in number of pax between 2001-2011 and forecast the same growth in next ten years, we will be able to understand this pattern better –
The above forecast by CAPA, India shows the potential of India’s aviation sector. There are many other studies that show India as a global giant in terms number of airline pax in the years to come.
This forecast by CAPA India shows the Indian market position vis-a-vis global market –
CAPA forecast also shows that post 2020 India’s domestic travel will grow by 50 million pax every year. That is almost equivalent to Delhi or Mumbai airport’s present traffic.
So we understand that the key factors for Indian aviation sector are to scale operations to such a level so that the sector can handle this enormous growth in air travel.
By the typical nature of aviation industry, we know that Indian aviation industry is very cost sensitive. To operate in a cost sensitive market any company would need to make their ground staff so efficient that their aircrafts spend minimum time on ground and use minimum time in airports. That will lead to their effective utilization and less expenditure.
With increasing air-traffic in India another important factor in Indian aviation sector would be to control increased air traffic. If we consider massive size of this nation and consider the increased air-traffic we will realize how this sector needs to be controlled in the days to come.
The solution of both the issues of high usage of aircrafts and lower aircraft ground time and effective management of airborne fleet. Since the traffic increase will be from main cities how airliners maintain the fleet in these big metro cities will make a difference. Operating too many flights may not be a feasible solution to this problem as in that case the airport authority will not be able to manage the traffic properly. Also the passenger travel increases during start of weekend and at the end of weekends. Keeping all these factors in mind operating too many flights seems to be an unfeasible solution.
In this context the only way airliners can succeed in the business is by operating bigger size flights so that each flight can accommodate more passengers in them.
Airbus A380 is a double deck, four engine and a wide body aircraft. It is so far world’s largest passenger airliner. It can reach a top speed of 1020 Km p hour and can travel upto 15,700 Km at a stretch.
The original configuration of A 380 aircrafts carried 555 passengers in a three class configuration and 853 passengers in economy category. The passengers were divided in two decks spanning over 470 Sq Meters or 5,100 SFT. The upper deck carries lesser number of passengers compared to the main deck.
There is one challenge in operating these aircrafts in India. The airports need to be compatible to handle such aircrafts as the two deck structure creates different set of business and operating challenges for both the airliner and the airport authority.
Earlier there was a restriction in flying this kind of jumbo planes in India and the Civil Aviation ministry had recently relaxed the clauses regarding the type of aircraft. Currently there is is restriction on the destinations from which the airliners can fly into India. But by introducing this new airbus in India that will reduce cost per passenger Km a main factor that can improve sales for this industry.
In India currently only four airports viz. Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore can handle A 380s. Other important airports like Kolkata, Chennai and Kochi too need to improve their infrastructure to handle such jumbos. Currently these airports do not have two storied aerobridges. Kolkata being the gateway to Eastern India is an important airport and already airlines like Singapore Airlines expressed their willingness to introduce A 380 in that segment. But even after recent facelift of the airport the airport still lacks this facility.
Currently only two airline companies operate A380 in India, Lufthansa being one of them. Recently in a grand opening of their operation in India Lufthansa started operating in Delhi –
They have recently started operating these jumbos from Frankfurt, one of the busiest airports in Europe. This move to enter the Indian market will surely help the airliner offer economy seats to international passengers and thus grow their business. This will also help the passengers travelling as they will get seats at much cheaper rates compared to the mini aircrafts. In short, this decision of flying jumbos in India will be a win-win situation for all concerned. This will surely bring a new dawn in Indian aviation industry. I wish all the very best to #LufthansaA380.