Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery | Photo: Mathrubhumi
New Delhi: Seven of the 20 busiest international air travel routes from India in May were to Dubai, according to data provided by aviation analytics company Cirium.
In May 2019 -- before the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacted the global aviation sector -- only two of the top 20 international air travel routes from India were to Dubai, according to the data, which has been accessed by PTI.
"International air travel is guided by bilateral rights. In case of Dubai, (the number of) Emirates flights are back (to the pre-pandemic level) but that is not the case with every other region. This made Dubai climb up the list faster than others," said Ameya Joshi, aviation analyst and founder of aviation blog "Network Thoughts".
Emirates was one of the first airlines to deploy full capacity on routes to India, taking a lot of traffic to the European Union, Russia and North America, he noted.
COVID-19 had significantly curtailed international travel since the beginning of 2020 to the beginning of this year. Its impact is now receding and airlines across the world have largely resumed their international flights.
In May 2019, the busiest international air travel route from India was Kolkata-Dhaka with 301 flights, the data mentioned. However, the busiest international route in India in May 2022 was Mumbai-Dubai with 406 flights.
Not just that, the second busiest international route in May 2022 was Delhi-Dubai with 332 flights.
There were 167, 152, 136, 133 and 131 flights on the Cochin-Dubai, Hyderabad-Dubai, Chennai-Dubai, Bengaluru-Dubai and Calicut-Dubai routes in May 2022 respectively, the data showed. These seven routes to the city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were among the top 20 international air travel routes connecting India in May 2022, it mentioned.
In comparison, there were just two Dubai routes -- Mumbai-Dubai (252 flights) and Delhi-Dubai (218 flights) -- among the top 20 routes in May 2019, it noted.
Meanwhile, according to Cirium's data, while there were four India-Kuala Lumpur routes among the top 20 routes in May 2019, there was none in May 2022.
"The India-Kuala Lumpur route was largely dominated by AirAsia Bhd, Malindo and Malaysia Airlines. These three have not returned with full force yet and hence, the impact," Joshi explained.
The reason these airlines have not returned with full force is because they carry traffic to Kuala Lumpur and beyond in the region alone and not far and wide as Emirates from Dubai, he said, adding that the region is yet to be fully open for tourism.
The third busiest international air travel route from India in May this year was Chennai-Colombo with 183 flights, the data showed. The fourth busiest route was Cochin-Dubai with 167 flights.