Could India have a hub airport like Dubai or Singapore? Only time will tell.

Air India Boeing 787 aircraft seen at Delhi Airport
Photo: Nicolas Economou | Shutterstock

While Indian aviation has made tremendous strides in the last two decades, it hasn’t been able to create a global aviation hub model. With air passengers and fleet slated to increase significantly over the next five to ten years, India’s aviation minister feels the time is right to create an international aviation hub in the country. For this, the government is already engaging in talks with key stakeholders.

In the pipeline

India’s aviation ministry is keen to replicate the model of global aviation hubs such as Dubai (DXB) and Singapore (SIN) and is in talks with airports and airlines to take the plan further. At a civil aviation conference organized by the industry body ASSOCHAM, India’s Civil Aviation Minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia, commented,

“We are in talks with two to three airlines and an airport for the creation of an international hub in India. And for the creation of that hub, you got to take the volatility out of the arrival and departure plans and smoothen out that curve so that you can provide the incoming flights time to allow international departures.”

Delhi Airport

Photo: Nicolas Economou/Shutterstock

He added that India’s aviation growth, particularly in the last few years, warrants a culture of hub airports. Scindia had earlier stressed that there were 200 million domestic and international air passengers in India before COVID-19 and that this number would reach 400 million over the next seven to 10 years. The country is also projected to have a total of 220 airports, including heliports and aerodromes, by 2026.

India’s geographic location could also be an advantage, positioned conveniently between important global destinations. Except for South America, India is connected with every continent through non-stop flights.

Challenges remain

But there’s plenty of groundwork to be done before a hub airport can be created in the country. From requiring more widebody planes (something that Air India is working on) to developing adequate airport infrastructure, many gaps need to be plugged.

While India has seen the development of many airports over the last few years, there have been several reports of many of them being understaffed. Air Traffic Control is one such department that needs more employees urgently.

Aircraft parked at Delhi airport
Photo: Media_works | Shutterstock

India also needs an airline that can offer an extensive network with a high standard of service to compete with rival airlines. Scindia is aware of the challenges that foreign carriers pose and their grasp on the Indian market. He said,

“Today, on domestic routes we are pretty much well settled. But on international routes, it is mostly Sixth Freedom [Right]. You have hubs located outside India. They use India as a transit point and then a long-haul flight takes you to your ultimate destination. It is important for our airlines to also start going from point to point.”

Hopefully, with correct planning and efficient execution, India could see an international hub on its soil in the years to come.

Do you think India could have a hub airport of global standards in the future? Please leave a comment below.

Source: Business Today


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