The Business Times

Small city routes lucrative for India airlines

Demand from smaller regions helps to offset losses in competitive routes linking big cities

Published Mon, Oct 6, 2014 · 09:50 PM

[NEW DELHI] The airport in Patna, one of India's smaller cities and the capital of its poorest state, is so crowded that government authorities this year said that they need to build another one.

The airport has seen the number of passengers, and daily flights, double in the last four years as the country's largest carrier, IndiGo Airlines, and smaller rivals such as GoAir seek to cash in on a surge in demand for air travel from smaller regions to offset losses on highly competitive "trunk" routes linking big cities.

"We are close to capacity in our arrivals and departure lounges," said Santosh Kumar, who runs operations at Patna airport. "We can handle more planes but it is only possible with a bigger terminal. We need a bigger airport."

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