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India airs its affinity with Dubai
MUMBAI, Feb 13 (Agencies):
Published on 13 Feb. 2011 11:43 PM IST
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India courts Dubai like no other country when it comes to air travel.
An average of 18,000 passengers flew daily—incoming and outgoing—between India and Dubai last summer, putting the Arab emirate way ahead of Singapore, the UK, Thailand and Sri Lanka in terms of air passenger traffic. Dubai’s airline, Emirates, was also the single largest international carrier operating to and from India during that same period of April to June. The one-way passenger load for Emirates last summer was 1.8 lakh flyers a month.
A combined average of 5,000 passengers flew from Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad to Dubai last summer. London came in a poor second, with an average of only 2,500 flyers—50% less than the passenger traffic to Dubai—travelling daily from the four cities.
When it comes to airlines most used by flyers, Air India beats Emirates, but only if taken as a merged entity (Air India, Air India Express and Indian). From April to June 2010, Emirates flew 5.48 lakh passengers out of India followed by Jet Airways with 5.04 lakh travellers. Air India by itself, that is AI-coded flights, carried 3.67 lakh flyers. Air India beats Emirates only when its flyers are added to those of Indian and Air India Express.
The merged figures show that Air India flew 8.75 lakh passengers out of the country in the first quarter of the ongoing fiscal year.
Dubai was the biggest hub for the Indian passenger. The Mumbai-Dubai sector was the most popular international route to and from India, followed by the Delhi-Dubai sector. From Mumbai alone, 1.71 lakh passengers flew to Dubai between April and June, 1.15 lakh flew from Delhi, over 90,000 flew from Chennai and over 66,000 flew from Hyderabad. However, it did not mean that all these passengers disembarked in Dubai. “About 60 to 70% of passengers from India who fly to airports in the Arab emirates are transit passengers who take onwards flights to Europe, the United States and other Gulf destinations,’’ said a top airline official.
These are just some of the trends that emerge from a deluge of statistics on air and passenger traffic released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Saturday. It’s the first time in its history that the aviation regulator has released extensive data on airlines, passenger traffic, passenger loads and so on. The data spans across 12 years, from the late 1990s till 2010. In 1998, for instance, all Indian carriers put together had a total of only 106 aircraft. Today, the combined fleets of all Indian airlines is four times larger at 417.
In 1998, a large majority of the aircraft were single-aisle jets and small turbo props, unlike the present-day fleet.

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