In recent months, Neos Airlines, an Italian carrier, launched scheduled weekly direct services between Milan Malpensa and Amritsar. This route has been proven to be highly successful for the airline, and it is now even targeting Amritsar’s largest international market.
This is the market that determines the success of various one-stop/non-stop international routes from Delhi, a market in which both Air India and Air Canada have been successful in recent years, i.e., Canada.
Neos is now en-route to launch an exclusive route between Amritsar and Toronto, Canada via its hub Milan Malpensa, probably marking the first time in its history that a new long-haul route will be launched to capture and serve a third market, rather than primarily serving Italy’s Canada market.
Amritsar has been a highly restricted market for ME3 and European carriers, giving Indian carriers, especially Air India a golden opportunity to develop Amritsar as a secondary hub for expanding its European and North American network.
However, in the past decade, no Indian carrier has ever had the true “Vision” or “Will” to focus beyond Delhi in Northern India to develop and expand there international network.
Neos’s rapid expansion in the market of Amritsar could significantly impact Air India’s non-stop services between Delhi and Toronto, along with Air Canada’s services as well from Delhi, in the long-term.
Initially, Neos will be serving the Amritsar-Toronto via Milan route with once-weekly Boeing 787-9 services from April 6th 2023, while it is no doubt that, the airline may even look to expand into this market with multiple frequencies a week, depending upon the response. The airline will also target Amritsar’s US market, with exclusive connectivity with New York as well.
About 60-65% of total North American traffic at Delhi is contributed by the state of Punjab, with an estimated 500,000 passengers traveling annually between Punjab and Canada via Delhi.
The entry of Neos into Amritsar’s North American market signifies the high potential of this market and the confidence of foreign carriers.
It would be keen to see if the Indian carriers would now refocus on their strategies and look beyond the major hubs for international network expansion. Losing the market of Amritsar to new rivals may seriously impact many in the near future.