Unleashing India’s Transit Potential

  • A transit hub is an important intermediary point for travellers travelling from one foreign country to another in the aviation industry.
  • It’s similar to a well-planned layover in which passengers switch from one plane to another, striving for a seamless journey.

What is an Aviation Transit Hub?

  • A transit hub is a bridge in the sky that connects visitors from one foreign location to another quickly and easily.
  • Passengers travelling from Country A to Country C via Country B should have a pleasant experience.
  • Such hubs often rely on a major airline with a large network to provide one-stop flights, ideally with a 2 to 3-hour wait between flights.
  • Consider it a hub-and-spoke approach, where planes connect at the hub and then spread out to other locations, making travel more economical and efficient.

Can India Become a Transit Hub?

  • Indian airlines handled 40.2% of air passenger travel to and from India in 2018-19.
  • This figure has increased to 44% in 2022-23, while international carriers’ stake has decreased to 56%.
  • India now has low-cost international carriers for short and medium-haul flights, including newcomers like Akasa.
  • These tendencies point to India’s potential as an economic transit hub, beginning with basic services.

Which airlines are capable of making it happen?

  • Air India Group and IndiGo have the ability to transform India into a transit centre.
  • They have almost 1,500 aircraft on order, the majority of which are narrow-body planes capable of spanning 5 to 8 hours of journey time, including European locations.

Is there another player in transit hubs?

  • The plan starts in New Delhi, where the government, Delhi airport, and airlines are working together to improve the hub experience.
  • Depending on airline origins, transit hubs are also being planned for Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kolkata.
  • Mumbai may appeal to African travellers, whilst Delhi may serve Central Europe and West Asia.

Is there any policy backing?

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation supports the concept and encourages airlines to offer additional nonstop international routes.
  • Airports and airlines are collaborating to develop greater transit spaces within airports.
  • Initiatives could include specialised international terminals or huge carriers to facilitate travel.
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