India-GCC air traffic falls despite expansion of flights

Air passenger traffic between India and the GCC region remained almost static during the July-September quarter
India-GCC air traffic falls despite expansion of flights
Total air passenger traffic from GCC region to India has registered a marginal decline of 1.22 percent in the third quarter.
By James Mathew
Wed 12 Dec 2018 01:46 PM

Air passenger traffic between India and the GCC region remained almost static during the July-September quarter despite several new flights being added by Indian carriers.

Total air passenger traffic from GCC region to India has registered a marginal decline of 1.22 percent in the third quarter of 2018 at 3.71 million, as against 3.75 million passengers in the same period of last year.

The cumulative passenger traffic from India to the GCC region in Q3 of 2018, on the other hand, saw a shade improvement to 4.05 million, up by 0.38 percent from 4.03 million during July-September 2017, according to the latest data available with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Indian aviation regulator.

The declining number of Indian expats working in the Gulf region countries now compared to till 3-4 years ago seems to be one of the reasons for the declining trend of air traffic growth between India and GCC.

This is, however, compensated by a growing number of tourists and business travelers between the two regions, which is helping both Indian and the gulf airlines to keep up air traffic volumes between various cities in India and Gulf countries from seeing any significant fall, according to officials at travel industry firms here.

Indian carriers Jet Airways and IndiGo have recently announced cancellation of some of their direct flights from select Indian and Gulf cities, citing economic unviability as the main reason.

The number of fliers between India and UAE, among the busiest and most sought after routes by airlines of both sides, was also a shade lower during July-September this year, compared to same period a year ago.

As against 2.29 million fliers to India from GCC in Q3 last year, the number of fliers to various Indian cities in Q3 this year was lower at 2.22 million. The total air passenger traffic from India to GCC during third quarter this year was 2.42 million as against 2.49 million a year ago period, according to the DGCA data.

While Emirates topped the list of Gulf carriers in terms of lapping up maximum number of air passengers to and from India, Air India and its sister airline Air India Express together accounted for flying maximum number of fliers between various Indian cities and cities in GCC.

Dubai-Mumbai remained the busiest route, carrying 2.90 million passengers, followed by Dubai-Delhi carrying 2.49 million passengers during July-September 2018.

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