India's busiest international route in 2015

The Mumbai-Dubai route was India's busiest international city pair in 2015, with 21.5 lakh people flying between the two business centres. Delhi-Dubai followed as the second busiest sector with 17 lakh people flying between the two cities last year, according to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) data. However, the lion's share of this traffic was transiting between India and the rest of the world through Dubai.
Last year saw almost 300 city pairs, that is Indian cities being connected by point-to-point flights with foreign cities by the over 70 international airlines that operate here along with the five Indian airlines offering overseas flights -Air India, AI Express, Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet.
The other international city pairs that saw big passenger loads were London-Delhi, Bangkok and Abu Dhabi to Delhi and Mumbai, and Chennai-Colombo.
And don't be surprised by the inclusion of Colombo as a hot city pair for India. In 2015, SriLankan Airlines, a member of the British Airways-led Oneworld, carried almost 13 lakh people into and out of India -more than mega carriers like Lufthansa (11.1 lakh) and Singapore Airlines (11.9 lakh) -because of the connections it provides from Colombo to Indian globetrotters.
India had direct flights to 52 countries last year. With all desi carriers that fly abroad having flights to West Asia, and the mighty Gulf carriers using India as a virtual catchment area to fill up their widebody aircraft flying from their hubs to Europe, Africa, the Americas and even Australia, the maximum air traffic India had with any country was in the Gulf.
The highest traffic was between India and UAE with 1.6 crore flyers between the two in 2015 -out of a total international traffic of 4.86 crore. With Abu Dhabi and Dubai part of the UAE, airlines of these two places as well as desi carriers -namely Jet-Etihad, AI-AI Express, Emirates, Air Arabia, Flydubai, IndiGo and SpiceJet -saw their planes going chock-a-block.
The UAE was followed by Singapore at a very distant second with traffic between India and the island state at 33.4 lakh last year. Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar saw very high traffic to and from India, with people going point-to-point to Saudi destinations, and increasingly using Qatar Airways' hub Doha as a transit point like neighbouring Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The traffic was meagre between India and Pakistan, with just 38,652 people flying between the two countries. Only Pakistan International Air lines has a weekly flight to Delhi, while no Indian carrier goes there.

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