Where will you fly next with an Indian airline?

Airlines in India are taking a hard look at their international route plans to fly back into profitability. This will help by keeping some sectors competitive, others will see fares go up in the days to come as options come down

A recent profitability analysis of the international network of Air India revealed that 173 of the 175 international routes do not even recover the cost of the flight, which quite simply indicates one of the reasons why the airline is going under the burden of losses on an ongoing basis. It seems like this has forced the hand of other airlines which have also been making losses on various routes, and use the global economic crisis to cut their losses.

Jet Airways has recently closed down its Mumbai-Johannesburg flights (with effect from 12 June 2012) after only two years of operations. It has announced the closure of its flight from Brussels to New York JFK from 10 September 2012. Jet Airways had two daily services to New York from Brussels (Newark and New York JFK) and the other one continues for the time being. While there are many guesses floating around on why Jet Airways pulled out, it seems they are preparing to take advantage of the multiple Brussels-New York JFK flights with its partners at Brussels and would rather cooperate than compete at such a competitive base.

The Hyderabad-Dubai service is also being shut down from 16 September 2012, while Chennai-Kuala Lumpur will be closed from 2 July 2012. In the past months, Chennai-Dubai, Delhi-Colombo and Thirunavananthapuram-Sharjah have already been eliminated.

Amongst this wholesale reduction of routes by Jet Airways, it seems like the low-cost carriers are picking the profitable short-haul routes and installing new services on those routes. IndiGo is launching flights from Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi to Dubai in August 2012, and adding a second Delhi-Dubai and Delhi-Bangkok flight as well in the same month. 
SpiceJet is also preparing to go to Dubai from 25 June 2012 and is launching flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Dubai on this date.

Jet Airways is rumoured to be considering opening up operations from Brussels to Chicago or Washington DC after closing the Brussels-JFK operation. There is also a strong discussion around the channels that Jet Airways will finally work towards joining an airline alliance. It has received approvals to launch up to 35 flights to Germany, so we could expect seeing new flights to Munich/Frankfurt in the months leading up to the last quarter of the year. Approvals are also underway for flights to France, Belgium, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sharjah and Vietnam.

In a nutshell, while there is a shake-up prevalent in the Indian market as of now, it looks like we will be in for more connectivity with the Indian carriers upping their capacity to newer destinations shortly.

AJ writes a travel and aviation focussed blog from India at www.livefromalounge.com. You can follow him at @livefromalounge on Twitter

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