Indian carriers eye non-metro routes for growth

New Delhi: Battling rising fuel costs and declining passenger traffic, Indian carriers are eying non-metro routes to increase revenue yields. Prime routes, such as Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Bangalore are no longer profit generators mainly due to increased capacity and declining passenger traffic.

Latest data released by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) reveals that even though traffic growth on metro routes has been in the range of 30-40 per cent in 2007-08, it has more than doubled on routes that link non-metros. Growth on these routes, according to the AAI, has been in the region of 60-100 per cent.

A quip by Deccan Aviation founder, Capt GR Gopinath, underlines the reality behind these figures. ''In fact, today we are losing more money on Mumbai-Delhi route than on Mumbai-Kolhapur,'' he said.

Air traffic may be poised for a further leap with the Government committed to invest Rs40,000 crore towards modernising 35 non-metro airports.