Air Arabia has seen a change in traffic mix from Tier-II and Tier-III cities travelling to leisure destinations rather than for religious tours.
Sachin Nene, Regional General Manager-India, Air Arabia, believes that the airline has seen an increase in MICE business, leisure travellers, FITs and even religious tours to places. Nene attributed the increase in MICE travel to logistic ease. He says, “All our flights from India arrive almost at the same time into Sharjah which makes it easy for the MICE operators to coordinate groups and even if the passengers have to fly to Dubai or anywhere else beyond Sharjah, then also the logistics can be easily handled.” Nene informs that Air Arabia currently operates 112 flights a week from 13 key destinations in India to Sharjah and beyond.
“A steady growth has been recorded from Tier-I cities and new segments of travellers have also emerged, but at the same time we have seen a complete shift in the traffic mix from Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Earlier this demographic was considered as religious travel segment or labour force travel where people travelled for work in the Gulf and Middle East. But times have changed and a large segment is travelling for leisure,” observes Nene.
He further adds that Indian outbound numbers have grown drastically and diversified over segments as compared to earlier times when people travelled only to visit friends and relatives (VFR). Indians are now spending more time in taking shorter holidays to destinations like Sharjah and beyond to Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Russia. According to Nene, visa on arrival also plays a major role like for destinations like Jordan and Kenya.
“A steady growth has been recorded from Tier-I cities and new segments of travellers have emerged, but we have seen a complete shift in the traffic mix from tier II and Tier-III cities I”
– Sachin Nene, Regional General Manager-India, Air Arabia