Wednesday, May 29, 2024

UK’s Gatwick Airport Seeks To Attract Indian Airlines As Recovery Stalls

By Staff Correspondent

Gatwick Airport, the second-busiest airport in the United Kingdom, is making a concerted effort to attract Indian airlines to establish services to and from India as the aviation industry continues to struggle to reach pre-pandemic levels. Gatwick’s Chief Commercial Officer, Jonathan Pollard, revealed in an interview that the airport has been in talks with IndiGo for several years and is highly interested in engaging with the Indian airline.

Gatwick offers cost benefits to Indian airlines and is 50% cheaper than Heathrow in terms of cost per passenger. Discussions with Air India are also ongoing, with flights from Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Goa, and Kochi set to connect with Gatwick from March 26.

Gatwick’s passenger traffic is highly dependent on international flights, which were at 86% of pre-pandemic levels in October, and the airport operator believes it will continue at this level throughout 2023. It is not expected to reach 2019 levels until 2024. Pollard added that the airport had reinstated much of its capacity to North America, Canada, the Caribbean, and the Middle East and anticipates further growth in the Chinese market in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Indian aviation sector is experiencing a robust recovery, having crossed pre-pandemic levels in the December quarter and maintaining higher demand in the traditionally lean travel season in the March quarter. In anticipation of higher demand in the summer season, Gatwick Airport is hiring more staff, though the net staff strength is anticipated to be around 10% lower than in 2019 due to increased technology deployment.

As the eighth busiest airport in Europe, Gatwick is setting its sights on more flights from India, as over 60% of traffic between the UK and India operates via various international airport hubs, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Frankfurt.

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