Last week it came to light that Air India was exploring Ireland’s Dublin Airport as a new Euro Hub, which didn’t make a lot of sense, which I wrote about in this post – Air India’s Search For A Euro Hub in Dublin…but why?
As of today however Air India is presenting their search for a European Hub in a completely different light … one that exemplifies my description of Dublin Airport as the “desperate girl.”
According to Air India the discussion of the airline’s interest in establishing a hub in Dublin, after a supposed exploration of approximately ten airports in Europe, and their intended visit to Dublin Airport in the next few weeks was started and fueled by Leo Varadkar, the Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sports. It would seem that it was Varadkar, not Air India who began discussing airline’s interest in Dublin due to US Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance for flights to the United States and Air India exercising its Fifth Freedom traffic rights from Ireland.
Now, a week after Varadkar’s comments, presented as statements from Air India, on airline’s interest in establishing a hub in Dublin, Air India is speaking out stating it has no plans to open a hub in Dublin or anywhere in Europe. Air India has cited that a hub in Dublin would make no sense, as the airline’s US to India traffic via Dublin would be forced to compete with the already existing non-stop service from major US gateways.
Experts on this matter, having conferred with Boeing, pilots and industry experts, also additionally point to the infrastructure issues related to operating from Dublin, including the airports longest runway, Runway 10/28, being 8,652 feet when they estimate a minimum runway length requirement of more than 10,000 feet to operate a fully loaded Boeing 777-337/ER between Dublin and Delhi.
These two major points for Air India are ones previously discussed on Flying With Fish last week, and points that lead to the conclusion that it didn’t make sense for Air India to operate from Dublin, much less establish a hub in Dublin.
The final blow to Minister Varadkar’s dreams of having an Indian airline establish a hub in Dublin might be that despite his comments that Dublin Airport was in talks with other private Indian airlines regarding establishing a hub in Dublin … it would seem that none of India’s international long-haul carriers are aware of any real discussion regarding the creation of a hub in Dublin.
Dublin Airport needs to find more airlines, more flights and more tenants quickly to justify the expense of building a huge new terminal that is likely to be under utilized for the foreseeable future. As the airport and the government seek to attract new service they need to lose the “desperate girl” mentality and work to find new attractive options. The airport advertises themselves as one of the cheapest to operate from in Europe … most business people know that the cheapest isn’t always the best option.