Airport Insight: Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport

Each day this year, The Blue Swan Daily uses the extensive insights available to CAPA – Centre for Aviation members to deliver a data snapshot on the world’s largest airlines and airports. Today, we feature Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (IATA: CCU; ICAO: VECC) serving Kolkata in the West Bengal region of India.

A major centre for flights into Northeast India and across the borders into Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport is seeing a swelling of traffic as the Indian market continues its dramatic growth. Predicted to be among the fastest expanding major aviation systems across the globe, India is predicted to displace the UK as the third-largest by 2026 buoyed by consistently high traffic growth, stimulated mainly by sizeable increases in the number of domestic routes served.

NETWORK: According to flight schedules from OAG for the week commencing 08-Jan-2018, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport is directly linked to 45 destinations, just under two thirds of which (29 destinations; 64.4%) are within India. Its International network currently covers three destinations in the Middle East (Doha in Qatar and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates) and 13 points in ten countries across Asia Pacific. This includes key links to Bangkok, Thailand; Hong Kong; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Singapore that all provide onward eastbound connectivity. Its activities have been boosted this month by the entry into service of a CAT III-B instrument landing systems (ILS), becoming only the fifth CAT III-B compliant airport in India and allowing operations in extremely low visibility conditions.

AIRLINES: As India’s prevalent domestic carrier, IndiGo is the largest operator in Kolkata with a 43.6% share of system seats and 43.0% share of aircraft movements at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International during the week long analysis period. In the domestic market this share increases to 48.6% of total system capacity, but in the international market this falls to just 7.3% with IndiGo the third largest operator behind Emirates Airline (11.8% share) and Regent Airways (8.0% share) from neighbouring Bangladesh. The large domestic networks of IndiGo and SpiceJet mean LCC penetration is fairly significant at 67.4%and this means that the facility has little alliance connectivity – Star has just a 10.8% share with 55,000 weekly seats and SkyTeam and Oneworld both have inventories of less than 5,000 weekly seats.

DESTINATIONS: It is no real surprise that the largest markets from Kolkata are to India’s two largest gateways of Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. This week there are 828 flight movements to and from Delhi offering over 70,000 seats and 550 movements to and from Mumbai offering almost 48,000 seats. Alongside the strong local demand they remain the largest connecting point for passengers flying both domestically within India and into foreign markets. The largest international destination from Kolkata by capacity (22.6% share) and movements (30.6%) share is to and from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport In Dhaka, Bangladesh. Dubai International Airport is also a key transit point, with the Emirates Airline direct flight popular with passengers connecting into Europe and North America. The Klokata – Dubai city pair is the sixth largest international route with a 5.2% movement share, but the third largest route by capacity (a 11.8% share) through the deployment of widebodied equipment.

CAPACITY: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport is seeing exponential capacity rises with a second successive year of significant seat growth. After seeing levels grow a fifth in 2016 (+20.0%), system seats grew a quarter last year (+25.3%) and are expected to increase further in 2018, based on current published schedules for the first half of 2018. While the expected +12.3% increase in H1 2018 may be half the annual rate recorded last year, it still represents a hefty rise that will likely see the 26 million system seat milestone passed in 2018 – just three years earlier in 2015 its system capacity was under 16 million seats. Last year’s dramatic growth was driven by development across both local and foreign markets with a +26.6% year over year increase in domestic capacity and a +18.3% growth in international capacity.

TRAFFIC: Having seen traffic levels decline in 2012 and 2013 Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport has witnessed almost linear year over year growth in the subsequent years, increasing +6.0% in 2014, 14.4% in 2015 and +21.3% in 2016. Passenger numbers for the first ten months of 2017 suggest 2017 will continue this pattern with traffic up +28.4% versus the same period in 2016 and already beyond the record 14.6 million passengers handled in 2016.

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