Air India's international transfer traffic has doubled over the last two years underpinning its efforts to develop Delhi as a hub. This comes on the back of service additions to Europe and East Asia. Transfer traffic refers to international passengers connecting via Delhi airport.

Air India did not share a figure regarding its transfer traffic. Sources, however, said international connecting passengers make about 10 per cent of Air India's foreign traffic at Delhi. "Since privatisation, we have added new flights from Delhi to Birmingham, Milan, Copenhagen, Vienna, and Amsterdam in Europe, which are complemented by new flights to Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City, Dhaka along with frequency increases to Kathmandu, Colombo, Singapore, and Bangkok. Our International-International traffic flows have more than doubled as a consequence of these additions, " Air India said.

On an overall basis, international flights at Delhi grew nearly 10 per cent on a year-on-year basis in May while those of Air India grew by 15.5 per cent, data from aviation analytics firm Cirium shows. The increase in flights also coincides with the expansion of transfer area in Delhi airport with additional F&B outlets, frisking booths and x-ray machines. These initiatives were taken by the airport to increase transit traffic flows.

Additional frequencies

Last week, the airline announced additional frequencies from Delhi to Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Milan. Air India has also announced a four-times weekly service to Zurich from June 16.

Zurich is the base for Air India's Star Alliance partner airline Swiss. The airport also serves other Star Alliance carriers such as Ethiopian Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways. Besides that, Air India also has code share partnership with Lufthansa and Swiss which it recently extended covering flights to Australia. "Partner presence is one of the many factors that plays a role in determining which stations to expand further capacity into, along with demand supply balance, trade and immigration flows, etc," Air India said.

"Within the Star Alliance framework, Lufthansa, Swiss and Air India enjoy comprehensive access to both the Europe and India markets through interline agreements. Furthermore, these airlines have formed a codeshare relationship covering 24 European cities such as Amsterdam, Zurich, Dublin, Stockholm, Prague, and more, facilitated through Frankfurt, as well as 12 Indian cities via Delhi and Mumbai," it added.