This is the fifth in a 6-part series about RDU’s pursuit of new international air service. Read the series. New posts are added each Friday through September 19.
Someone once said that everything old becomes new again. Centuries ago, the Middle East and India were known as the crossroads of the world due to their location on trade routes between Asia, Europe and Africa. Today, we are seeing a rise in Middle Eastern hub airports and deeper ties than ever before between our region and India.
Snapshot of the Middle East
Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways are now familiar names among frequent travelers. About 10 years ago, these carriers and their hub airports began to grow rapidly due to their geography, the emergence of Middle Eastern economies and changes in international air agreements.
Only a small number of travelers begin their flights at RDU and end them in the Middle East, but many people do use the cities of Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi to connect to points throughout Asia, Africa and India. As these cities and hubs continue to rise, we’ll keep looking for opportunities for more direct service to this region.
Growth In India
Our deeper connections lie with India. Did you know that RDU is the 11th largest airport in terms of passenger demand in the U.S. to India? Our region is home to many people who are from or who have family in India. More than 29,000 people travel each year between India and RDU each year. That’s about 80 people each day. That’s more people that travel between RDU and India than from India to Denver, Seattle or Phoenix.
The cities in India that are the most popular from RDU are:
- Mumbai (BOM)
- New Delhi (DEL)
- Bangalore (BLR)
- Chennai (MAA)
- Hyderabad (HYD)
Ties To India
The Research Triangle Region’s large population with connections to India is one of our biggest ties to India. Also, many of our technology and financial services companies have campuses, customers or contractors located in India. And, our ties extend to the academic community. N.C. State University has over a dozen partnerships with universities and academic institutions in the nation.
Traveling To India and the Middle East
The most common path for trips to India and the Middle East today is via one or two stops via Chicago or New York. Some travelers find easy one-stop connections through our nonstop flight to London Heathrow. As we discussed in our focus on Europe, we are looking to gain an additional nonstop flight to either Paris or Frankfurt, which will increase the number of one-stop connections to India and the Middle East.
Do you fly regularly to the Middle East and/or India? We’d love to know more about why you travel and where you go! Tell me in the comments below. Your feedback could help us in our quest for new service.
Next week, we’ll wrap up our series with a look at Australia, Africa and other regions of the world.