Virgin Atlantic doubles Delhi; for all airlines, London-Delhi seats down 25%

In 2019, London Heathrow – Delhi – London Heathrow has ~972,000 two-way seats, down almost 17% YOY from ~1.2 million in 2018.  And down 25% from nearly 1.3 million in 2015.

Virgin Atlantic adds second daily Heathrow - Delhi

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Of course, this decline is mainly from the end of Jet Airways in April 2019.  Jet Airways operated once-daily between Delhi and London Heathrow and cut 260,000+ seats.  It was the third-largest operator after market-leader Air India and second-place BA.  

London Heathrow – Delhi decline not just from Jet Airways’ end

In 2019, BA’s capacity reduced by 9% YOY and Air India’s by 3%.  Since 2015, BA’s capacity has fallen by 17% and Air India 16%.  In contrast, Virgin Atlantic’s increased by 9% YOY and 6% since 2015.

Overall, the decline is from a combination of lost frequency and, importantly, fewer seats per frequency.

Based on November of each year, Heathrow – Delhi departures have dropped from an average of seven-daily in 2015 to five-daily in 2019.  And across BA, Air India and Virgin Atlantic, seats per frequency have declined from 270 in 2015 to 253.  This hides that BA’s fell 15% from 261 to 223, and Air India 9% from 283 to 256. 

Virgin Atlantic adds second daily Heathrow - Delhi

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

This is, of course, primarily from downgauging to B787s. In 2015,  40% of Air India’s capacity was from 342-seat B777-300ERs.  It’s now exclusively 256-seat B787-8s.  In 2015, 43% of BA’s seats were by 337-seat B747-400s to low-density B787-9s (216 seats) and B777-200s.

Virgin Atlantic to add second daily

Following the relaunch of Mumbai in October 2019, Virgin will be launching a second-daily Delhi service from S20.  This will be a morning, which is popular from London. We don’t yet know the timings, but when combined with its existing timings – and Delta relationship – it will inevitably offer stronger connectivity to and from the US.

Airline Departure time Arrival time Aircraft
Air India 0845 2225 788
BA 1115 0115+1 772
BA 1850 0850+1 772
Virgin Atlantic 2120 1120+1 333
Air India 2130 1120+1 788
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser

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