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British Airways India routes: aircraft gauges changed & partners considered as third party hubs loom
Recent equipment changes by British Airways on four of its five routes to India have reduced its total seat capacity, but its operations are now better suited to each of the markets it serves. It is even considering down-gauging its biggest route, London-Delhi, from Boeing 747-400 aircraft to the 787-9. This exercise has improved its cost efficiency and provided it with a basis for future growth in the UK-India market, in which it is the leader by seats on direct routes.
CEO Keith Williams has said that BA will “see how the market develops” over the next two to three years, before looking to partner with an Indian carrier in hub-and-spoke operations (Press Trust Of India, 29-Nov-2014). Our analysis suggests that it may not be so easy to find a suitable Indian partner in this time frame.
Meanwhile, third party hubs (in particular Dubai and Abu Dhabi) already have a large share of traffic in the market. Moreover, much of BA's India-UK traffic is in fact in the highly competitive India-US market. BA's relationship with oneworld partner Qatar Airways could point the way forward.
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