Developing Hub Airport in India
- India is the third largest domestic aviation market in the world, after USA and China. With increasing population, improved socio-economic conditions, and government initiatives like UDAN, the sector is expected to have high rate of growth in India.
What is a Hub Airport?
- A hub airport, also known as a hub, is an airport that serves as a central transfer point for connecting flights. It connect several airports through non-stop flights.
- A typical hub airport operates on the concept of waves, a wave of incoming flights arrives and connects with another wave of outgoing flights that departs an hour or two later.
- Economies of Scale for the airport and airlines alike.
- Concentrating air traffic at a hub airport enables airlines to achieve economies of scale. By funnelling a large volume of passengers through a central location, airlines can optimize their operations, reduce costs, and maximize efficiency in areas such as aircraft maintenance, ground handling, and fuel consumption.
- Better Connectivity: A hub airport provides extensive flight connections, allowing passengers to travel between different origins and destinations efficiently. Airlines get to serve city pairs that are otherwise economically unviable for non-stop flights.
- Greater Choice and flexibility for passengers- Frequent fliers get greater choice and flexibility with flights, destinations, and service frequencies, as well as lower ancillary costs, such as avoiding the time and cost of overnight stay.
- Positive knock-on effect on the wider airport ecosystem
- Improved passenger throughput will also benefit aero and non aero service providers at the airport, including cargo and ground handling, fuelling, retail and duty free, vehicle parking etc.
- Improved infrastructure – Hub airports are often focal point of airline alliances and partnerships.
- These collaborations allow airlines to coordinate schedules, share facilities, and thus improve efficiency.
- Propels the economic and social development of the city and its inhabitants
Consideration of Hub Airports in India
There are three basic requirements for becoming a major airport hub:
- Sufficient local consumer demand
- Good geographical location
- Necessary infrastructure to support high-volume of traffic
In India’s case, the first two requirements are rightly addressed the focus is rightly on addressing the third requirements.
Favourable Factors for Airport Hub in India:
- India has the largest diaspora (around 18 million people across all six continents and regions).
- India is also located on busy international air corridor which connects Europe, Africa, West Asia, etc with East Asia. Thus it is ideal for a transit hub and alternative/diversion/fuel stop/ technical stop.
- Since, India is a very large economy, it can support development of more than one hub.
- Capacity constraints at all major airports – especially during peak season or peak hours.
- Congestion and air traffic management will be worsened at the hub airport.
- Large Geography – may present challenges in establishing a single or limited number of hub airports.
- Land Acquisition is a huge challenge in all the cities of India
Addressing these impediments requires a comprehensive approach involving government
support, private sector participation, infrastructure development, airspace management
improvements, and strategic planning to ensure the viability and success of hub airports in India.