Europe-India seats at record high; Air India top carrier; Lufthansa now ranks second

Virgin Atlantic

Over 10 million people flew between Europe and India last year – about 27,000 daily. Sixth-freedom carriers were critical: about seven in ten passengers transferred to another flight en route. Many people connected in the Middle East, and Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways were the three largest sixth-freedom operators. In fourth place was Air India, with many passengers transiting in Delhi and Mumbai to other Indian cities. Despite this, the amount of non-stop Europe-India seats is at a record level.

Q3 2024: the most non-stop capacity to date

According to Cirium schedules information, there were nearly 1.43 million one-way non-stop seats in Q3 2024 (July-September), up 18% from the previous peak last year. Air India’s capacity has grown by 27% year-on-year, other Indian operators by 56% (mainly because of Vistara) and European carriers by 8%.

Only other Indian operators have not surpassed their record high, which was held in 2018, when now-defunct Jet Airways existed. Jet Airways was the number one airline between India and Europe. It even had more capacity than Air India.

Europe-India non stop capacity Q3 2024

Air India is the largest operator

In the three summer months examined, 16 airlines operate between Europe and India. Belavia, which began Minsk-Delhi in August 2023 (2-weekly in Q3 2024), was among the most recent airline additions. ITA Airways entered the market in December 2022 from Rome FCO-Delhi (daily).

In Q3 2024, all European airlines have 61% of available seats. Helping them was the launch of Virgin Atlantic between London LHR and Bengaluru on 31 March 2024 (daily), Lufthansa Munich-Bengaluru on 3 November 2023 (3-weekly) and Frankfurt-Hyderabad on 16 January 2024 (5-weekly). Lufthansa’s developments enabled it to leapfrog British Airways for the second spot. However, the share of European carriers is down by five points year over year.

Shannon AIrport

In contrast, Indian operators have their joint highest capacity share to date. This is influenced by Air India and Vistara’s big growth. Helping the effort was Air India’s start of Delhi-Zurich on 16 June 2024 (4-weekly), with Bengaluru-London LGW starting on 18 August (5-weekly). Vistara commenced Frankfurt-Mumbai on 15 November 2023 (daily) and Mumbai-Paris CDG on 28 March 2024 (daily). In Q3, Air India has 17 Europe routes and Vistara five.

Top 10 Europe-India airlines Q3 2024

London LHR-Delhi is the most-served airport pair

Cirium indicates that airlines have 57 Europe-India routes in Q3. When the carriers are removed, 42 airport pairs exist. London LHR-Delhi ranks number one. It has 52-weekly departures in August by Air India (17), British Airways (14), Virgin Atlantic (14) and Vistara (7). The route was to see Air India’s A350-900s in September, but entry has moved forward to July.

Nine Indian airports have European service, of which Delhi has more than one in two seats (51%). The Indian airports are Delhi (16 European airports served), Mumbai (eight), Bengaluru (six), Amritsar (five), Hyderabad (two), Chennai (two), Ahmedabad (one), Kochi (one) and Goa GOX (one). Some 17 European airports have India flights.

Top 10 Europe-India airports pairs Q3 2024

Aeroporti di Roma