High aviation costs in India impacting British Airways
High aviation costs in India have impacted British Airways by cutting into its profitability, said a senior official of the airline.
"India is very significantly costly place to run an airline. We have seen significant rise in fuel cost, airport fee and some other costs included in aviation sector, which make very difficult for some carriers particularly when they are not able to charge any premium," said Christopher Fordyce, regional commercial manager, South Asia, British Airways.
He said the British Airways was less impacted than its competitors because of its premium customer services and plane structure. "But we are also impacted," he said.
Replying to queries at a news conference, he said the high costs anywhere in the world make a place less attractive for expansion.
"The expansions are based on economic calculation, on whether these would be profitable," he said when asked if the high costs were a deterrent for British Airways to expand operations in India.
Christopher, however, pointed out that British Airways was still growing in India. He announced that the airlines would increase its flights from Hyderabad and Chennai to six per week from March.
The airline currently operates five flights from both the cities to London.
This would mean 20 percent growth in seat capacities from both Hyderabad and Chennai or 200 additional seats per week from each destination.
He said the increase in number of flights was to meet the increasing demand from both the cities. The airlines also announced 25 percent discount on all club world tickets booked before Nov 23 to London.
The British Airways has been flying from Hyderabad since 2008.
"Hyderabad has emerged as one of fastest growing markets in India both for its business activity and tourist attraction."
Christopher said India was the second largest market for the British Airways after the United States.
The addition of two flights will take total number of flights from India to 47 per week.
Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore are its other destinations in India.
He said the airlines had no plans for adding any new destination in India.
"We will continually review our network and see if they are any opportunities," he said.
"We are not having any plans at the moment," was all he said when asked if the British Airways was looking to buy stakes in any airlines in India.
He replied in the negative when a reporter wanted to know if any airline in India had approached them.
On whether Indian government's decision to allow foreign direct investment in aviation would prove a game changer, he said: "I think we have to wait. It hasn't so far. There has been no announcement so far."