Delhi-Mumbai Becomes India’s Busiest Airline Route! What Are The 2nd & 3rd Busiest Airline Routes Of India?

When it comes to the air traffic, the world has not yet fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels. 

It is only twice since May 2020, that the number crossed the 4 lakh-per-day mark. Not just that, it also seems that the overall average is yet to be breached and it seems that the same shall not be crossed at least till the holiday season.

The Overall Scenario

With airlines launching many sectors to fulfil the new demand to connect Tier II cities, there has been a massive shift when it comes to the route profiles since the dawn of civil aviation.

Largely the traffic as well as routes were at the mercy of the pandemic, however due to the demand in tourist destinations, there was a sudden spike in the cases.

This resurgence in the number was nothing but the revenge tourism as flights to tourist destinations such as Goa were full and airports in Goa, Bagdogra and Tirupati, among others, saw passenger footfalls surpassed the pre covid times.

It was Patna & Srinagar which shone brighter than they did as they got more footfalls than the pre-covid times.

Domestic air traffic has been dipping since the start of the second half of June and there are two other factors impacting aviation this time around, ATF prices and plummeting rupee.

Firstly, the skyrocketing price of air turbine fuel (ATF) which is currently at an all-time high of Rs 1.41 lakh per kiloliter in Delhi. Also, secondly it is the dollar that which is south of 79 to the dollar.

Traditionally the airlines fuelled passenger numbers in the July-September quarter with lower fares, but due to these reasons, even the finances of the companies are shaken and they cannot afford to drop fares this time around.

To make most of the shining and rising demands, the airlines are finding other sweet spots in the country.

It is in Srinagar where this airlines are finding the quantum of solace, and this is backed by data!

According to the data from OAG Aviation, Delhi-Srinagar-Delhi sector has overtaken the Delhi-Bengaluru-Delhi as the second busiest in the country in July.

Only three routes in the country in July that have frequencies higher than 1,000 flights in the month. 

First being the Delhi-Mumbai route with 1,478 frequencies, whereas Mumbai-Delhi sector has 1,508 flights. 

Second in the list is Delhi-Srinagar at 1,154 while the Srinagar-Delhi sector has 1,146 flights.

In third position is Delhi-Bengaluru, at 1,062, which is the same as Bengaluru-Delhi.

In terms of seats, the Delhi-Srinagar sector has 7 percent more seats on offer in July over the Delhi-Bengaluru route, which has been the undisputed No. 2 for long!

Airlines Wet Their Beak in Srinagar

Largest city and summer capital of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, Srinagar, with 6-8 lakh pilgrims expected the Amarnath Yatra hit the record high number. This Yatra began on June 30 and concluded on August 11.

It is after two years, that the yatra commenced once again, after being suspended due to the pandemic. Also prior to the pandemic, the Yatra was curtailed midway due to the scrapping of Article 370.

Hence it was effectively after three years that the Yatra is taking place in full flow, with Srinagar airport being the closest gateway by air.

Now moving on to what is in it for airlines, then lets have a look at the numbers. Now, currently there are 3,615 flights per day approved in the current schedule for airlines in India. However, due to unfavorable market conditions, July month saw the average number of flights were 70-75 percent of the approved schedule.

Now, as we all know that there is no such thing as a free lunch, hence there is a cost involved, and operating at subpar numbers makes it difficult for airlines to even break-even, let alone minting money. Hence, they resort to utilizing the maximum number. 

Now, when we see the revenue coming from the air fares for the Delhi-Srinagar sector and Delhi-Mumbai sector, then they are same. But when we see closely, the Delhi-Srinagar sector is shorter than Delhi-Mumbai, hence less on the cost side. This is what makes Srinagar special for this airlines. 

Not just that, but also the opportunity to sell last-minute seats at higher fares contributes to the assured stream of revenue, which is no less than a blessing in such weak quarters.

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