ANALYSIS: Airports in South Asia - The Biggest and Fastest Growing Gateways

Ahead of this year's World Routes forum, Routesonline is providing another look at our series of articles on the leading airlines and airports and most used aircraft types across regions of the world last year. Here we look closely at the airports of South Asia and highlight the region's top performers.

Ahead of this year's World Routes forum, Routesonline is providing another look at our series of articles on the leading airlines and airports and most used aircraft types across regions of the world last year.  Here we look closely at the airports of South Asia and highlight the region's top performers.

​ The data is all supplied by OAG Aviation using its OAG Schedules Analyser tool.

Scheduled Air Capacity From South Asia (2005 - 2014)

Our analysis of published schedules for the past ten years shows that air capacity within and from South Asia has risen from 69,033,731 available seats in 2005 to 158,760,706 available seats in 2014.  This represents a growth of 130.0 per cent across the period, an average annual increase of 14.4 per cent.  In the past year capacity increased 7.3 per cent.

Top Ten Airports in the South Asian Market (2014)

Indian airports hold the top six positions in the listing of largest facilities for air travel within and from South Asia, highlighting the key role new entrants into the local market and infrastructure growth at airports in the country will have on the future of aviation in this region.

The big metropolis hubs of Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai lead the way with 16.8 per cent and 15.3 per cent shares of capacity within and from South Asia in 2014, respectively. With a faster rate of growth Delhi’s gateway has strengthened its prominence in the region with its share of available seats rising 0.3 percentage points between 2013 and 2014 following a 9.0 per cent rise in departure capacity.

The Indian airports hold seven of the top ten largest airports in South Asia with Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore (6.2 per cent share); Chennai International Airport (6.1 per cent share); Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata (4.9 per cent share); Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad (4.5 per cent share) and Cochin International Airport (2.6 per cent share), the others.

The largest non-Indian airport in South Asia by departure capacity in 2014 was Bandaranaike International Airport, serving the Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo, which was ranked seventh with a 3.3 per cent share. The other non-Indian airports in the top ten were: Dhaka’s Shahjalal International Airport in Bangladesh (2.8 per cent share) and Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport in Pakistan (2.6 per cent share).

Fastest Growing Airports in the South Asian Market (2010-2014)

Looking at capacity data in the region across a five year period, it is Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in the Indian city of Hyderabad that has grown by the biggest margin with capacity up 68.6 per cent from 2010. The modern facility was opened in March 2008 as a replacement for the city's former airport at Begumpet and is viewed upon as one of the most efficient facilities across the Asian market, regularly appearing highly in customer surveys.

The performance at Hyderabad over the last five years only just exceeded that of two other Indian airports. Pune Airport grew capacity 65.9 per cent between 2010 and 2014, while at Lucknow’s Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport departure seats increased 60.6 per cent, despite capacity falling last year.

Outside of the dominant Indian market, Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, the main international airport in the Maldives, was the fastest growing airport in South Asia with departure capacity up 56.4 per cent over the past five years. Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka also saw a notable 45.3 per cent capacity rise between 2010 and 2014, highlighting its emergence as a regional hub for the oneworld alliance and resurgence of tourism to the country.

Data comparison between 2013 and 2014 shows that it is not India, but Bangladesh that is home to the airport with the largest year-on-year growth among the top ten airports in this region. Dhaka’s Shahjalal International Airport, the main international gateway into the country boosted departure capacity by 15.5 per cent over the 12 month period.

It was closely followed by Cochin International Airport, which reported a 14.5 per cent capacity growth between 2013 and 2014, while Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport was the only other top ten airport to report double-digit capacity growth last year with available seats up 12.8 per cent on 2013.

Looking at the wider top twenty airports in the region it is Goa International Airport which recorded the largest year-on-year capacity growth with a rise of 19.1 per cent. Double-digit growth was also recorded by Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal (up 12.4 per cent) and Pune Airport in the Maharashtra state of India (up 10.9 per cent).

The schedules data shows that only four of the top twenty airports in South Asia reported capacity declines between 2013 and 2014: Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport, Pakistan (down 7.9 per cent); Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport, also in Pakistan (down 2.1 per cent); Lucknow’s Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport, India (down 1.1 per cent); and Thiruvananthapuram’s Trivandrum International Airport, India (down 0.7 per cent).

Scheduled South Asia Capacity by Aircraft Type

The chart below shows which aircraft types were most prevalent in the South Asian market during 2014. The schedule data shows the Airbus A320 (320) is the most widely used aircraft type in this market with a 34.2 per cent share of available seats with overall network capacity up 17.1 per cent between 2013 and 2014 from 3.31 million seats to 54.28 million seats.

The second most utilised aircraft type in this market is the Boeing 737 all series (737) with a 9.3 per cent share, while third most widely operated type by network capacity is the Boeing 737-800 (738) with a 9.2 per cent share.

The biggest rise in annual capacity among the top ten aircraft types were recorded by the Boeing 737-800 (738) with a 30.2 per cent rise in available seats in 2014 versus 2013. The largest decline in annual capacity was recorded by the Boeing 737-800 (winglets) (73H) with a fall of 11.4 per cent, while Airbus A330-200 (332) capacity declined 10.2 per cent.

Share this article

The economic impact of hosting World Routes

Request your copy of the Economic Impact Study to learn more about the long-term growth effects your airport or destination can benefit from by hosting World Routes in 2023, the next available hosting year for World Routes.

Request Economic Impact Study