Eight out of ten diamonds polished worldwide are estimated to be cut in Surat but for years the city yearned for air connectivity. While the diamonds crossed seven seas, a passenger could not take off from Surat for want of air connectivity.
The local law makers and citizen pressure groups started a campaign to attract airlines to Surat and for political reasons or otherwise, Air India came forward to start services to Delhi with a 70-seater regional jet, CRJ-700. In another such instance, in April this year, AirAsia India became the first operator to offer non-stop services between Delhi and Imphal, a route serviced via Guwahati by almost every operator flying to Imphal.
Is selection of a new route or a new station, a game of darts? Airline network planning, in fact, is a serious business, which involves data science, deep knowledge of market and aircraft in the fleet of an airline.
Surat has graduated to become a major destination for airlines. Air India added capacity by upgrading the flights from CRJ700 to Airbus A320, the city saw the re-entry of SpiceJet, followed by IndiGo and from nowhere, Surat is now connected to all the major metro cities and a few Tier-II cities as well.
Route planning or network planning has a significant impact on the financial position of the airline. For a company which is in the business of taking people from one place to another, the routes are what dictate how many people will fly with them. And it’s not jus