Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Air India

According to Newkerala.com, Air India will be launching daily nonstop service between Delhi and New York JFK effective February 2008. This flight will be flown using a Boeing 777-300ER. It will be the airline's second ultra long haul route flown nonstop from India in addition to its heavily loss making BOM-JFK flight operated by the Boeing 777-200LR.

Analysis :

One fails to understand the fixation that not only Air India has but also other North American carriers too have with the NYC-India market. There is no need what so ever for AI to fly DEL-JFK nonstop as it will lose a lot of money on this route which is evident with its new BOM-JFK flights which are losing heaps load of $$$ every time they are flown. Currently, AI fly triple daily to NYC i.e. daily to EWR from BOM + daily to JFK from DEL via LHR + daily nonstop BOM-JFK. Hence, by adding a 4th daily flight, it serves no purpose as there is enough capacity serving this market segment which also includes CO's and DL's daily EWR/JFK-India bound flights.

An idea for Air India :

By joining Star Alliance, the logical step would be to fly nonstop from DEL to a Star Alliance hub airport in USA which is ORD or IAD. Since ORD already sees a daily flight from India flown by AA & AI each respectively, why not use the B 773ER to launch new flights to IAD from DEL and code share with United Airlines. It will give AI a monopoly position on this "niche market" route as no other airline flies it nonstop plus from IAD, its Star Alliance partner; United Airlines would provide value able feeder traffic obtained from Florida, ATL, BOS, PHL, CLT, PHX and Texas which are densely populated with immigrant Indians.

As far as AI's choice of an EU hub goes, it currently has flights from FRA to ORD & LAX and according to people who work in their BOM HQ, future flights to SFO & IAH are planned to be routed via FRA. However, AI should look into making Manchester, UK (MAN) its hub for onward flights to USA as it will get good O&D loads on its MAN-India-MAN bound flights + have a monopoly position on many MAN-USA nonstop routes if launched such as MAN -SFO, MAN- LAX, MAN-IAH etc. Take into account that Manchester and its surrounding areas have a huge Indian/Sikh population and currently lacks nonstop flights to India. If AI want to take the initiative here, the MAN market is ready for them to exploit.

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