Fly­ing high in Tier-II, III cities

Air­lines are grad­u­ally re­al­is­ing the po­ten­tial of Tier-II and Tier-III cities, lead­ing to an evo­lu­tion in avi­a­tion that has never been wit­nessed be­fore.

TravTalk - India - - NEWS - HAZEL JAIN

Con­sider for in­stance the op­por­tu­ni­ties that an in­ter­na­tional air­line like fly­dubai of­fers smaller cities like Luc­know, Kochi and Thiru­vanan­tha­pu­ram when it con­nects them to a hub like Dubai. Or how Tig­erair is con­nect­ing the ‘Land of Nawabs’ to the rest of the world by fly­ing di­rectly from Sin­ga­pore to Luc­know.

Har­man­deep Singh

Anand, MD of Nag­pur-based Jag­sons Trav­els, gives his vote to this trend. “Qatar Air­ways re­cently in­tro­duced daily op­er­a­tions in Nag­pur af­ter al­most seven years con­nect­ing over 150 cities glob­ally to Nag­pur and neigh­bour­ing ar­eas like Wardha, Akola, Gon­dia and Gad­chi­roli that now have di­rect ac­cess to in­ter­na­tional flights. Air Ara­bia has been op­er­a­tional in Nag­pur with four weekly flights con­nect­ing it to most parts of the Middle East and Africa, all the way up to Turkey. Now, the con­nec­tion is be­yond the Amer­i­cas,” he says.

Su­nil B. Satyawakta, MD of Luc­know-based Civica Trav­els and Chair­man (Ut­tar Pradesh & Ut­tarak­hand Chap­ter) of Travel Agents As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia, echoes this view. Air­lines to­day are study­ing new routes to con­nect Tier II cities with each other and the met­ros. This min­imises fly­ing time, pre­vents tran­sits at met­ros (sav­ing high UDF), saves on fuel costs and de­creases load on ATCs,” he adds.

Biji Eapen, Chair­man and CEO of Kochi- based Speed­wings Avi­a­tion Academy and Na­tional Pres­i­dent of IATA Agents As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia ( IAAI), adds, “The govern­ment aims to de­velop air­ports in smaller towns and of­fer in­cen­tives to car­ri­ers op­er­at­ing with less than 100 seats. Also, the de­ci­sion to waive land­ing and night park­ing charges for small air­crafts will at­tract car­ri­ers to op­er­ate to non-metro air­ports. But the trend to have more in­ter­na­tional flights ar­riv­ing in smaller towns will not cut costs for fliers. This may help for­eign tourists but will war­rant an ad­verse eco­nom­i­cal sit­u­a­tion.”

What air­lines say

AirAsia In­dia re­cently added Vizag, Guwa­hati and Imphal to its net­work and ac­cord­ing to Mittu Chandilya, CEO and MD, AirAsia In­dia, all three des­ti­na­tions are do­ing well. “Con­nect­ing the un­der­served des­ti­na­tions has al­ways been in our plans. It is im­por­tant to stim­u­late traf­fic from and to th­ese des­ti­na­tions as there is so much we can ex­plore in th­ese mar­kets,” he says.

Tig­erair is an­other in­ter­na­tional air­line that has shown an ap­petite for this. Teh Yik

Chuan, Di­rec­tor, Sales & Mar­ket­ing, Tig­erair, states, “Cur­rently, con­nec­tiv­ity is mostly to larger cities but the de­sire for air travel among in­di­vid­u­als in sec­ondary cities is ris­ing as is their ca­pac­ity to spend.” Sachin Nene, Re­gional Man­ager – In­dia for Air Ara­bia, says that In­dia’s po­ten­tial can­not be ig­nored. “There are a lot of peo­ple from th­ese cities who want to travel to other parts of In­dia and the world. But cur­rently they have to use gate­ways like Mum­bai and Delhi. So we make their lives sim­pler and con­nect the rest of the world to their homes,” Nene opines.

Sachin Nene

Re­gional Man­ager In­dia Air Ara­bia

Teh Yik Chuan

Di­rec­tor Sales & Mar­ket­ing Tig­erair

Mittu Chandilya

CEO and MD AirAsia In­dia

Har­man­deep Singh Anand

Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Jag­sons Trav­els

Biji Eapen

Na­tional Pres­i­dent, IATA Agents As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia (IAAI)

Su­nil B. Satyawakta

Chair­man (Ut­tar Pradesh & Ut­tarak­hand Chap­ter), TAAI

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