In a notable shift, India has overtaken Australia to become the primary market for Malaysia Airlines (MH). The transition comes as the airline, backed by the Malaysian government, records an uptick in demand and expands its reach within India.
A senior official within the company reported that the full-service airline has recently bolstered its weekly flights to India from 55 to 60, with plans to solidify the increase by the end of the current year.
Yin May Lau, the Group Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer of Malaysia Airlines, spotlighted the astonishing resurgence of India’s aviation market in a conversation with FE. According to Lau, “Our India operations have already regained more than 90% of pre-Covid levels. With the addition of 60 flights, we’re set to meet the numbers of 2019. As the pandemic eased, India demonstrated one of the most promising recoveries we’ve witnessed.”
The airline currently services six Indian destinations—Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kochi—with plans to introduce three more, namely Puducherry, Trichy, and Trivandrum in the foreseeable future.
Interestingly, Malaysia Airlines’ operational capacity in India outperforms that in China, the second-largest global aviation market. This expansion underscores the rapid growth of India’s aviation sector—currently the third-largest worldwide—following the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions and the country’s robust economic revival.
Lau added, “India has climbed to become our largest global market. Prior to Covid-19, it was among the top three with Australia leading, but India’s growth momentum currently outpaces that of Australia.”
May data showcased an impressive performance by India’s top six airlines, including IndiGo, Air India, and Vistara, with load factors exceeding 90%. The robust demand in the market led to an unprecedented record of high load factors.
In the first quarter, Malaysia Airlines accommodated 225,000 passengers, positioning it among India’s top 10 foreign carriers based on passenger volume.
Data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation reveals a significant upswing, with Indian airlines serving 63.6 million passengers from January to May, marking a 36% rise compared to the same period the previous year.
Market pundits conclude that India’s growth has eclipsed most other significant economies.