Airlines from Fiji, Kuwait and Poland are seeking stronger commercial partnerships with Indian carriers to boost traffic.
Around 1.7 million passengers flew between India and Kuwait in 2018, but over a half took one-stop flights via other cities in West Asia. Intense competition has led to discounting and pressure on yields while traffic itself has declined because of lower crude oil price and economic slowdown.
Kuwait Airways has proposed collaboration with Indian carriers to reduce operating costs, grow traffic on direct flights and increase yields. “The market is big enough for all of us to grow. I don’t want to step on toes of Indian carriers. We would like to cooperate instead of getting into aggressive price wars,” Kuwait Airways Chief Executive Officer Kamil Al-Awadhi said. The cooperation would cover passenger and cargo handling, catering, security, technical training and maintenance at Kuwait airport. The two sides will also cooperate on sales and marketing and share revenue on each others flights.
“We have discussed the proposal with five Indian carriers and their response has been very good,” Al-Awadhi said. He did not name the carriers but said the airline was open to have partnerships with all Indian carriers.
Air India, Air India Express, IndiGo, Jet Airways, Jazeera Airways and Kuwait Airways connect the two countries. Kuwait Airways flies 56 weekly flights to seven destinations in India and has exhausted it’s entitlement of 12,000 seats per week.
In FY18, more than 60 million passengers flew to/from India on overseas routes, a growth of over 10%
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Over 60 per cent of Kuwait Airways passengers from India fly onward mostly to Europe and Kuwait Airways would like to see an increase in seat entitlement to 50,000 per week, he added.
LOT Polish Airlines returns
LOT Polish Airlines is resuming Warsaw Delhi flights after 25 years and will operate five weekly services from September 17.
“India is the fastest-growing aviation market and a great opportunity for the Polish aviation,” said Mikolaj Wild, secretary of state in Polish ministry of infrastructure. Warsaw can serve as a hub for 180 million residents in central and Eastern Europe and LOT Polish Airlines can offer onward connections to cities in Europe and the US.
India and Poland signed a technical cooperation deal at the global aviation summit in Mumbai last week. Wild said he wanted strong partnership between LOT Polish Airlines and Air India. Both the airlines are members of Star Alliance.
Fiji Airways is planning codeshares to attract more passengers from India. “Fiji Airways has a codeshare partnership with Jet Airways and is looking to sign more codeshares with other Indian and foreign airlines. We are in discussions with the civil aviation ministry to revise the bilateral agreement,” said Yogesh Punja, Fiji High Commissioner to India. Last year, around 6,000 Indians visited Fiji and arrivals grew around 20 per cent.
Last month, IndiGo signed a codeshare pact with Turkish Airlines, its first such agreement, covering 20 destinations beyond Istanbul. IndiGo is likely to start its Istanbul flight in March.