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British Airways (BA) may consider partnering with an Indian carrier for hub-and-spoke operations in line with its relationship with American Airlines depending on how the market develops over the next 2-3 years, a top official said.
“India is the second largest market (for BA) after North America in terms of (traffic) volume or number of seats. … Our business model (with American Airlines) is to carry traffic to the hubs in the US from where they fly them to other destinations (within the US),” BA’s Chief Executive Keith Williams told PTI here.
“We will see how the market develops over the next 2-3 years. It is too early to judge at present,” Williams, who was here at a function to mark the completion of nine decades of the premier British carrier’s operations to India, said.
He was asked whether BA was looking at tying up with an Indian carrier to launch hub-and-spoke operations from five cities to London Heathrow (LHR) like their arrangement with American Airlines.
Under this arrangement, American Airlines, which merged with US Airways almost a year ago, provides convenient flight options to key business and leisure destinations across Europe and the United States.
BA currently operates 49 flights a week, with double dailies to Delhi and Mumbai, apart from dailies to Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
“As far as the Indian market is concerned, the network model should be smaller airports feeding into the hubs. In LHR, almost 40 per cent of passengers are transfer passengers,” Williams said.