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Why Air India Needs To Look Beyond Mega-Hubs?

As Air India continues to redefine itself with expansion of network, fleet, enhancement of passenger experience, along with an aim to capture India’s ever growing international market with a focus on profitability, it is still a long way for the airline to achieve its ambitious plans.

The vision of the new Air India is certainly to be the next global carrier of choice and compete with the giant rivals of the Middle East, however that vision also invites new challenges, that probably needs to be dealt with innovative and strategical thinking, and not completely with the traditional practices.

For Air India, Delhi has always been a focus of center and the point to develop as a mega-hub, to compete with foreign rivals. Under the new leadership as well, the airline has a clear focus to develop a mega-hub at Delhi, along with Mumbai, while Bengaluru to be the other primary point of focus in the Southern India.

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With over 1.4 billion population, there exist huge opportunities for everyone in India’s international market, however, not just Air India, but not a single Full-Service Indian carrier in the past decade has ever been successful to capitalize on these opportunities. This certainly raises the question on the approach of the airlines to capture this market.

While there could be several reasons for this failure, however, every major airline had the same approach, i.e., Hub-and-Spoke model.

There certainly are many advantages for the airlines with this model, however, in the present times, where the foreign carriers have successfully captured a significant share of India’s major markets, especially in the South-India, Air India needs to look beyond it’s mega-hubs strategy, in order to challenge it’s rivals in the true sense.

Whether it be Delhi, Mumbai or Bengaluru, the Middle Eastern giants, including, Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways has established a strong presence in these markets, along with other metro and major secondary cities of Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Cochin, Trivandrum, and Ahmedabad, etc.

With multiple daily frequencies on these routes, providing one-stop connectivity across the globe via their respective hubs of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha, along with the most competitive fares and the best passenger experience onboard the aircraft, it is a long way for Air India until it could establish its lead in the international markets of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, and other major secondary markets for feeder traffic.

Along with three major hubs, Air India probably also needs to explore the strategic development of major secondary markets with little to no presence of ME3 & European carriers which could support its overall growth steadily and sustainably.

These markets may include Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Goa and Cochin where the airline has already developed it’s non-stop international network to the UK.

About The Author

Ravreet Singh is a young blogger with an avid interest in aviation business. His ultimate goal is to become an Airline Business Professional. He possess good research, analytical and strategy skills, along with knowledge about various aspects of commercial aviation. He is also the youngest team member of FlyAmritsar Initiative, a public advocacy campaign for better air connectivity & sustainable development of Amritsar.


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