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Ajay Sujay Hanje, Pune

Air India Ltd. is considering the creation of a second hub in southern India as a tactical move to improve its domestic and international network. The airline’s only hub at the moment is in New Delhi. The airline is making the move in an effort to increase its presence outside of the capital, particularly in Mumbai, and get access to the rapidly expanding aviation markets of the southern area.

Bengaluru and Hyderabad, both expanding privately managed airports, are being considered for this new business, according to insiders who chose to remain unnamed. Both of these locations are a component of Air India’s growth strategy as well as that of its sister airlines, Vistara and Air India Express. Both domestic and international flights will use the selected hub.

In aviation, the hub-and-spoke arrangement is essential. In this system, an airport serves as the hub, centralizing traffic from several points (spokes) and assisting travelers as they transit to their final destinations. Several well-known airlines have followed this tactic with Emirates diverting traffic through Dubai, Cathay Pacific using Hong Kong, and British Airways using London Heathrow.

At the moment, rival airlines have surpassed Air India’s dominance at significant Indian airports. For instance, IndiGo dominated the domestic market in August at Mumbai, India’s second-largest airport, with a 48% market share, followed by Air India and Vistara with 18% and 17% of the market, respectively. With 22% of the market share in the international category, IndiGo was in the lead, followed by Air India (14%), and Vistara ( 10%).

The first executive stated, “The Air India group is committed to operate in both smaller and larger airports,”expressing the airline’s greater ambition.” To realize the idea of an Indian hub, they are eager to work with all airport operators, said the executive. 

Air India and Vistara are going to merge and become a single entity. But the CEO of Vistara comments on this topic saying that Vistara will remain Vistara until Air India reaches an “appropriate level”. Eventually both these will merge and create a single entity called Air India. Creating new hubs can increase they market value and better traveling for their customers.