Delhi’s top-20 international routes had 7.5 million P2P passengers in 2019

Delhi's top-20 international routes had 7.5 million P2P passengers in 2019

United Airlines began Delhi – San Francisco in December 2019. The Californian airport is Delhi’s third-largest destination in North America and its number-one in the USA.

Delhi top-20 international routes had 7.5 million point-to-point passengers in 2019, up by 4% YOY.

With 937,000, Dubai was Delhi’s top route – but traffic was down by 10% because of a 32% increase in one-way base fare.  This pushed Delhi – Dubai revenue up by 17% to an estimated $124 million.

IndiGo significantly cut Dubai capacity: it was down by 30% as the market adjusted to the loss of Jet Airways.  This was offset by Air India increasing its offering to three-daily, up from two – all by B787-8s.

The average number of airlines across these 20 routes was three, OAG schedules data shows.  Dubai had the most with seven, followed by Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Kathmandu with six apiece.

In contrast, Vancouver, New York JFK, and Melbourne had one each. Singapore Airlines’ top connecting country-pair is India – Australia, while Vancouver will see a second non-stop operator later this year (see below).

Even Kabul, Delhi’s 12th largest market with 259,000, had four carriers: Air India, Ariana Afghan, Kam Air, and SpiceJet.  Kam Air’s A340-300 was the most used type.

Mumbai had more passengers than Delhi to just three of these 20: Dubai, Jeddah, and Kuwait.

Delhi's top-20 international routes had 7.5 million P2P passengers in 2019

Delhi’s top-20 international routes had an average of three airlines each. Note: fares here are one-way, in USD, and exclude both taxes and a 20-30% fuel surcharge each way. Source: booking data via OAG Traffic Analyser.

Tokyo fare 131% higher than to Heathrow

Tokyo Narita had 220,000 passengers last year.  Air India, All Nippon, and Japan Airlines all operated non-stop, typically with a combined 17-weekly service.

Narita stands out for its high average one-way fare of $727, booking data shows.  (This excludes taxes and a 20-30% fuel surcharge.) 

This is 131% higher than the $315 average to Heathrow – despite Heathrow being 14% farther.

We previously showed that Hanoi’s average fare to Tokyo was more than to Paris CDG.

And earlier this year, we looked at Dhaka’s top unserved routes, and Tokyo was top by fare per kilometre.

Heathrow, Delhi’s third-largest market with 663,000 passengers, saw Vistara start in August 2020.  Meanwhile, SpiceJet will begin in December. 

However, it is not yet certain whether these operators will continue year-round rather than simply operating in the current India – UK bubble.

Delhi's top-20 international routes had 7.5 million P2P passengers in 2019 (2)

Delhi’s top-20 international routes by passenger traffic were led by Dubai. Source: OAG Mapper.

Delhi – Toronto tops for North America…

Four North American markets made Delhi’s top-20 list, twice as many as European.

With 482,000, Toronto was Delhi’s top to/from North America.  And it grew well YOY, both by fare (+13%) and traffic (+15%). 

Air India began Toronto in September 2019 because of Jet Airways ending in April that year. Air India joined Air Canada, with 11 weekly departures between them.

Of course, there are a myriad of one-stop options between Delhi and Toronto, with sixth freedom operators having an estimated 65% of the market.   

Perhaps surprisingly, British Airways was top, followed by Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Emirates, and Lufthansa in that order.

With 298,000, Vancouver was Delhi’s second-largest North American market.  It added 22,000 passengers YOY despite a 3% rise in fare.

Air Canada began the 11,159-kilometre non-stop route from Vancouver in 2016; it operated up to 11-weekly last year using B787-9s.

… as fellow Star partner Air India announces Delhi – Vancouver

Air India will start Delhi – Vancouver on a three-weekly basis from 25 October 2020.  It’ll use 342-seat B777-300ERs.  It announced the route two weeks before it is due to start.

Its announcement must be driven to a large degree by the fact that many sixth freedom carriers are not currently allowed to carry transit passengers from India to North America via their hubs. 

San Francisco is Delhi’s top US market, with 283,000 – up by 12% YOY.  This was from United Airlines starting it in December, with this 12,402-kilometre having up to 16 weekly non-stops pre-coronavirus.

United Airlines will next start Delhi – Chicago on 12 December, joining Newark and San Francisco.

Delhi's top-20 international routes had 7.5 million P2P passengers in 2019 (4)

Only two European airports made it into Delhi’s top-20 international list: London Heathrow and Paris CDG. However, an important development in 2019 was the launch in March of IndiGo from Delhi to Istanbul, initially Ataturk and then Istanbul Airport. It operates twice-daily mainly using A321s. After eight months, the route will restart this coming November.


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