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Japan's ANA and Air India to operate codeshare flights

Air India is the country's second largest carrier by domestic passenger traffic with a 10% share.

Japan's ANA and Air India to operate codeshare flights

All Nippon Airways will partner with Air India to offer codeshare flights from late May, seeking to claim 40% of passenger traffic between the two countries as India is expected to become the third largest aviation market after China and the U.S.

Codesharing will begin on ANA's Haneda-Delhi and Narita-Mumbai routes as well as on Air India's Narita-Delhi route. Both Haneda and Narita airports serve Tokyo.

This marks the company's first codeshare arrangement with a major Indian airline in five years, following its collaboration with Jet Airways, which ceased operations in 2019 due to financial difficulties.

Codesharing is an arrangement in which carriers sell tickets on flights operated by partner airlines, treating them as their own routes. It improves convenience for customers and increases passenger load factors for airlines. ANA and Air India are both Star Alliance members.

Partnering with Air India will boost ANA's share of passenger traffic between Japan and India to 40%, compared with an estimated 20% for rival Japan Airlines.

ANA hopes to leverage the partnership in international flights to eventually operate domestic codeshare flights in India.

India has experienced rapid economic growth in recent years, mainly in manufacturing and technology. ANA wants to operate codeshare flights on domestic routes connecting cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai, where foreign companies have expanded, while also bringing Indian tourists to Japan.

Expectations are high for strong growth in India's aviation market, as the country boasts the world's largest population and a vast land area. Domestic air passengers in 2023 totaled about 150 million, up 20% from the previous year and exceeding the roughly 140 million in 2019.

The International Air Transport Association projects that India will become the world's third-largest aviation market after China and the U.S. by 2030.

"The Indian air travel market continues to grow rapidly at an average annual rate of 9% to 12%, and airline companies are becoming more and more important," said Akitake Fujita, partner at Boston Consulting Group.

Air India, which used to be state-owned, became a unit of Indian conglomerate Tata Group in 2022. Its share of Indian domestic passenger traffic in 2023 was 10%, ranking second, the country's Directorate General of Civil Aviation reports.

Japan Airlines has a codeshare partnership with Vistara, a joint venture between the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines.

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