India Shakes Up the Global Aviation Industry

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While India places record aircraft orders, the delay in aircraft deliveries due to supply chain snags could mar the growth potential of the Indian aviation market.

A revival in domestic air travel to nearly pre-pandemic level propelled India to the big leagues of major aviation markets, according to the trade body, the International Air Transport Association’s latest market analysis report. Domestic travel in India missed the pre-Covid level by 2.2 percent in February 2023 in terms of passenger revenue kilometers, the study said. The country also emerged as the top domestic market in terms of passenger load factor — which studies how efficiently an airline fills seats and generates revenue — when compared to countries such as the U.S., China and Japan, the report said. India recorded passenger load factors of 81.6 percent in February, 85.2 percent in January, 88.9 percent in December 2022, and 87.9 percent in November 2022. Domestic air passenger traffic for all markets measured for February surged 25.2 percent over the year-ago period. Besides aircraft manufacturers, international airlines too are eyeing the growth potential of the Indian aviation market. Just last week, Hungary budget carrier Wizz Air’s CEO Jozsef Varadi said India is a growing opportunity. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is another airline that is planning to expand its capacity in the country, as it looks to drive 20 percent growth from India in the next year, the airline’s CEO Antonoaldo Neves said during his recent visit to the country.

The Indian hospitality sector experienced a 60 percent rise in job postings from March 2022 to March 2023, with Delhi-National Capital Region emerging as the top city for such jobs, global job site Indeed said in its report. Hotel manager, travel consultant, resort manager, hospitality manager and travel agent were the most in-demand jobs. While Indian capital Delhi-NCR led with a 20.37 percent increase in hospitality job postings over the past year, Mumbai and Bengaluru were second and third respectively, the report said. During the second wave of the pandemic, change in jobs during the period of March 2020 to 2021 fell 13.8 percent. “However, from March 2022 to 2023, change in jobs has sprouted to a staggering 59.5 per cent. We remain optimistic about this growth, especially as local and domestic tourism continue to be attractive destinations,” said Saumitra Chand, career expert of Indeed India and Singapore. 

Hotel franchising company Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of Wyndham Garden Agra Tajganj in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh under a franchise agreement with Agra-based real estate and hotel development company Namit & Company. Expected to open in 2025, the hotel will feature 138 rooms. “Wyndham Garden Agra Tajganj will be our second hotel in Agra reaffirming our commitment to our continued growth in the upper mid-market segment and further strengthening our presence in the state of Uttar Pradesh,” said Nikhil Sharma, market managing director of Eurasia at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. Last month, the hotel had also announced the opening of a 70-room Ramada by Wyndham Goa Vagator and a 100-room Ramada Encore by Wyndham Indore, Nipania.

The Indian petroleum and natural gas ministry-constituted committee on bio-aviation turbine fuel program has submitted its report on promoting the use of clean fuel in aviation, the civil aviation ministry said, as it listed out various initiatives being taken to reduce carbon emissions. The ministry had earlier highlighted how India has reduced 90,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions and saved approximately $48.6 million on bio-aviation turbine fuel expenses. India will start participating in the UN special agency for aviation International Civil Aviation Organization’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation and the Long-Term Aspirational Goals from 2027, the ministry said. It also said that state-owned Indian Oil Corporation Limited will sign a memorandum of understanding with sustainable fuel tech provider LanzaJet to produce cleaner aviation fuel at its Panipat refinery in northern India.

The U.S. Embassy in India has announced that travelers with “clearance received” or “department authorization” on their previous visas can now use the interview waiver process to apply for a new visa, it said on its official Twitter handle. The process is set to save time and provide relief to many travelers who were earlier required to attend an in-person interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Applicants renewing any visa in the same category within 48 months of expiration are eligible for an interview waiver, according to the information available on the embassy’s website. In another development, the U.S. Mission to India will open the first batch of visa appointments by mid-May to begin processing student visa applications for the Fall session, it tweeted.

Online travel company MakeMyTrip has partnered with Madrid-based tour agency Europamundo for bringing the latter’s international holiday packages in India online. With this partnership, over 600 new itineraries will be added to MakeMyTrip’s existing catalog of nearly 5,000 holiday package options, the company said in a statement. “The partnership further strengthens our portfolio and bolsters our capability to unlock global destinations in new combinations to cater to every traveler’s preference,” MakeMyTrip Business Head of Holidays & Experiences Jasmeet Singh said. Holiday packages, as part of this partnership, are available starting from a price range of $605 (excluding flights) across destinations like Europe, Scandinavia, Balkans, Saudi Arabia and Japan, the statement said.

Pride Hotels Group has announced the launch of Pride Resort Rudraprayag in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. “With this launch, we move a step forward to expand our footprints across popular tourist destinations in North India,” said Shoeb Mohammad, associate vice president of North India at Pride Hotels Group. The group had earlier launched a 75-room Pride Hotel Bhopal, its third property in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, with two others located in Indore and Jabalpur.

The Indian government is considering the creation of a unified security force for all airports in the country — along the lines of the Transportation Security Administration of the U.S. — which will also combine immigration and customs. The agency was formed in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack in the U.S. to oversee security for all modes of transportation, such as air travel, passenger rail and intercity bus travel. In India, the proposal comes at a time when the country is pegged to be the third largest aviation market in the world by 2024, and is already the third largest domestic aviation market after the U.S. and China. The number of airports in the country are also targeted to grow from the current 148 to 220 by 2025, and airlines have more than 1,000 aircraft on order.

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