Cathay Pacific is expected to cut down its flights to India connecting Delhi. The airline move is expected to be underpinned by the nearly 345 percent hike in aeronautical charges by Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) effective from 15th May 2012.

Online media reports indicate that Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flag carrier, may trim down its Delhi bound flights to India, even as the airline is looking to enhance its services in other parts of the country.

The move to cut down on Delhi bound flights is believed to have resulted from 345 percent hike in aeronautical charges levied by Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) effective from May 15th, 2012.

If Cathay Pacific trims down its flights to Delhi, it will be the fourth foreign airline after American Airlines, Air Asia and Air France to either cancel or cut down flights to Delhi in the recent months due to high costs.

While American Airlines chose to terminate its services out of Delhi, Air France decided to decrease its flight frequency to Delhi. Air Asia, low cost carrier famous for offering cheap flights to India also pulled its services out of Delhi recently.

Other foreign carriers that are not supporting the rate hike include the likes of Lufthansa, British Airways, Emirates and Singapore Airlines.

Tom Wright, Cathay Pacific’s GM- South Asia, Middle East & Africa, said, “We are evaluating the impact of the hike on our operations out of Delhi and will soon take a call.”

The airline currently offers flights 14 times a week to Delhi.

Online reports further quoted Mr. Wright as saying, “It is a highly complicated formula. With this kind of tariff, Delhi should be the most expensive airport in the world.”

He said passing on rate hike to passengers “is an unrealistic proposition in the current environment.” Budget vacationers looking for a holiday breaks to India would surely be wary of high priced travel tickets.

“With a world class airport such as Delhi, you cannot make losses. Then its financial model must be fundamentally flawed,” Tom Wright said.

The possible move to snip services to Delhi may affect the airlines plan to expand its operations in India, which includes enhancing the flight frequency to Chennai to a daily service from September and extending the routes to Hyderabad and Kolkata, as the complete sequence will get impacted by the rate hike.

Furthermore, Cathay Pacific has been facing troubles to net bilateral entitlements to add new Indian destinations in its operational routes.

Emphasizing on the same, Mr Wright said, “Getting rights is time taking here. It took us 20 years to increase our services to India from eight flights a week to the present 35.”

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