Airlines began the Northern Summer 2022 schedule with a lot of optimism. Despite growing expenses and challenges on several fronts, the sector has remained hopeful. Passengers have begun to travel, and business travel is returning to pockets. Despite this, the deployed flights have not completed 75% of the scheduled timetable, and passenger numbers are still 20% lower than pre-Covid levels.
In the wake of this, airlines have declared a number of new flights, including some new sectors and several reinstatements around the country. This comes at a time when aviation in the area has taken a blow like never before, with the likes of AirAsia group and Lion Air group, who have operations in many countries, suffering like never before. Airlines in India, on the other hand, have managed to get by thus far with measures such as staff wage cutbacks, which may start costing them later.
In the midst of new routes and reinstatements, a glance at the longest and shortest flights in India’s domestic sky reveals that the now-privatized Air India holds the record for both. The airline operates a nonstop route between Delhi and Port Blair, which is India’s longest domestic journey at 2,482 kilometers. With a large number of turboprops in Indian skies, one would think that the ATR or Q400 would fly the quickest trip, however, this is not the case. Air India also flies the shortest flight in the Indian sky, between Calicut and Kannur, which is 95 kilometres shorter than the National Capital Region’s extreme ends (NCR).
The shortest air routes in India
- The route between Jammu and Srinagar is India’s most popular shortest route for airlines. At 143 kilometres, this route is the shortest in the network for Go First, Vistara, and SpiceJet’s Boeing network.
- IndiGo’s shortest route runs once a week between Jammu and Amritsar. The route is 108 kilometres shorter than the shortest route on the ATR network, which is 134 kilometres between Silchar and Shillong.
- SpiceJet, which also operates turboprop aircraft, is no exception. The shortest path taken by the Q400 between Gorakhpur and Varanasi is longer than the shortest route used by its Boeing counterpart. The Gorakhpur-Varanasi line, which spans 154 kilometres, was just inaugurated.
- The shortest route for AirAsia India, an all-A320 airline, is 230 kilometres between Delhi and Jaipur.
- The shortest route for Alliance Air, the government’s sole airline following the sale of Air India, is the 124-kilometer Dimapur-Imphal journey. The airline now operates just ATR 72-600s, but it is anticipated to add two ATR 42-600s and two Do-228s in the near future, perhaps altering the shortest route in the network.
- Star Air, India’s sole operator of regional jets, uses the jet to its full capabilities, with the shortest trip being 370 kilometres between Bengaluru and Hubli.
The longest air routes in India
- While the longest flight is between Delhi and Port Blair, market leader IndiGo’s longest trip is 2,232 kilometres between Delhi and Trivandrum. Vistara also serves the same sector, making it the longest trip in the company’s network.
- IndiGo’s ATR network has its longest trip between Kolkata and Raipur, where ATR operates one of three daily flights. To prevent misleading passengers, the airline has said unequivocally that it would not run ATR aircraft on routes where the A320 flies.
- The ATR operates the final of three flights between Kolkata and Raipur, which takes 45 minutes longer than Airbus flights. The ATR 72-600 has a range of 1,528 kilometres, according to ATR. Alliance Air, which also uses the ATR 72-600, has its longest trip between Kolkata and Lilabari, which is 766 kilometres long.
- SpiceJet’s Q400 travels 1,456 kilometres from Bengaluru to Gwalior in three hours and five minutes, making it the longest trip in SpiceJet’s turboprop network. The Q400 has a 2,000-kilometre range. SpiceJet’s longest trip in its Boeing network also departs from Bengaluru, with a 2,039-kilometer journey to Guwahati.
- Guwahati is also on the list of longest flights for AirAsia India, which flies its longest trip, a 2,070 km journey between Mumbai and Guwahati. Go First, an all-A320 operator provides a 1,708-kilometer service between Delhi and Bengaluru.
- Star Air, the E-145 operator, runs the longest route, 1,312 kilometres between Bengaluru and Jamnagar. Regional jets are designed for long, narrow routes, and the airline appears to be making excellent use of the aircraft in this situation.
The shortest trips in both IndiGo and SpiceJet’s networks are not on turboprops but on jets. Similarly, while IndiGo may be the market leader, Air India has both the longest and shortest flights in the country. Airlines have tried and succeeded in deploying wide-body aircraft on domestic routes from Japan to the United States. India does not yet have the volume for them to make the cost metrics work. And, while narrow-body planes have a range of almost 6,000 km, the country’s most remote locations do not have as much traffic to link them.