Indian Carriers Increase Services To SE Asia

Saturday, 15th February 2014 at 07:55am

Southeast Asia seems to be a more lucrative market for Indian carriers as most of them who have existing operations in the region either expanded their services or set expansion plans.

Most Indian airlines find the local market inhospitable to their operations at the moment as their local operations have been losing for years already. They blame, among others, the exorbitant charges imposed by airport operators, skyrocketing jet fuel prices, weak currency and anaemic market demand.

Most Indian airlines, except IndiGo, are piling up loses in addition to mounting debts arising from unpaid obligations to their creditors and aircraft lessors.

Local carriers find the domestic market increasingly unattractive that even the foreign-based, AirAsia, scrapped four of their Indian routes from their combined network. In 2011, for instance, Hyderabad was dropped off from AirAsia's Indian network. This was followed by the cessation of services to New Delhi and Mumbai by AirAsia X, the long-haul arm of the budget leader. By March this year, Thai AirAsia will conclude its operations in Kolkata citing weak demand for its outbound flights.

India's major low-cost carriers are enjoying brisk business in their Southeast Asian operations prompting them to expand their services in the region. The two most popular SE Asian destinations among Indian travelers remain to be Singapore and Bangkok.

Jet Airways, India's largest privately-owned carrier has become the largest Indian carrier to serve the region with its 85 weekly flights to Bangkok and Singapore. The airline's expansive service in Southeast Asia arise from the growing traffic between India and the two major SE Asian tourist destinations.

Air India, the state flag carrier, is also expanding its SE Asian operations with weekly frequency of 49 flights to Singapore and Bangkok.

IndiGo, meanwhile, flies to the same SE Asian destinations with 21 weekly flights between them. SpiceJet, on the other hand, operates a dozen weekly flights to the Thai capital while Air India Express operates 19 flights each week to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. All services by IndiGo, SpiceJet and Air India Express originate from either Delhi or Mumbai, the country's two major international gateways.

Noticeably, Indian full-service airlines are the biggest operators in the SE Asian region, led by Jet Airways and Air India whose combined weekly frequency is 130 flights, mainly to Bangkok and Singapore.

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