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Foreign airline competition impacts Air India; Indian LCCs expand internationally

Nearly one-third of the 32 million international passengers travelling to/from India in 2009/10 travelled on international carriers, leveraging sixth freedom rights, with only a third of current weekly seats and ASKs deployed international from India being operated by Indian carriers. Carriers such as Emirates, Lufthansa, British Airways, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines have successfully expanded in the Indian market, often at the expense of local carriers, and offering onward connections via their respective hubs to destinations in US and Europe, currently underserved by the local airlines.

In the Comptroller and Auditor General of India's (CAG) report on Air India released in Sep-2011, it was noted the percentage of sixth freedom carriage in 2009/10 of total passengers carried was as high as 59% for Emirates, 78% for Qatar Airlines, 87% for Lufthansa, 49% for Singapore Airlines and 61% for British Airways. These five carriers together hold a 23.4% capacity (ASKs) share of international services to/from India.

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