Your post is devoid of a simple fact in that a large number expats from the subcontinent work in the UAE. Working in the UAE as an expat is seen as a status symbol for them. Many people from the subcontinent stop over in the UAE to meet up with “successful” family members, and for the shopping opportunities it presents without the 30% tax found in the subcontinent.
Yes, there is that set of facts.
But I believe India (BOM or DEL) should have been a natural International to International. In particular Osceana and SE Asia to EU and Africa.
Not going to happen. Who is going to want to stop off in the "third world" on their stopover. I can't think of any major hub that's in such a country.
What India should be striving for though is retaining more of their traffic and pushing more direct service. There's no reason why any Indian should be flying through DXB, AUD or DOH to Europe or North America. Especially when you look at the list of European destinations that EK, EY and QR serve. Virtually all of the European destinations the Gulf 3 serve could be served by an Indian or European carrier direct to BOM or DEL. Virtually all of the North American destinations the Gulf 3 could be operated through DEL with only 1 hr of flight time more max. And all of them have enough traffic to sustain direct service. Heck, arguably BOM-Africa services could have enough traffic to bypass DXB. Especially to destinations in Eastern or Southern Africa, where old colonial and some diasporic connections remain.
I actually see some of this coming to pass in fits and starts from Indian carriers, which is partly why I argue that DWC is needed and the rulers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi need to come to terms with this sooner than later.
I remember reading similar posts regarding Dubai. EK/DXB made their transfer experience good enough to grow by word of mouth and sports advertising.
For direct service, they will struggle to acheive profitability without a way to boost revenue as connections do. Take LHR-BLR. That flight would never would work without connections.
Take a moment to read about connections for the ME3:https://www.anna.aero/2016/03/23/connec ... -analysed/
Only down at #6, BOM, does an Indian city first appear. Now imagine Navi Mumbai fed by SYD, MEL, PER, BKK, CGK, and a dozen more airports. Think of all the destinations that cannot happen without 40% to 70% connecting traffic to make the flight break even:. DUB, MAN, EDI, GLA, DUS, a Berlin airport, anywhere in Spain or another French airport than CDG.
To seed direct service, they need a competitive offering. EK has a network of 27 European cities. There isn't enough demand outside of the too 7 EU cities without international to International connections.
India needs a mega hub. With the steep fuel taxes, only the highest yield US routes work direct. Otherwise, connect through the ME3 or EU3 hubs is the economically only viable options.
EK works by feeding 10-20 people from 20 different cities to fill a 777 with high profit O&D and low profit (or passenger at a loss to prevent a flight at a loss). A higher O&D city would thrive.
Ethiopian is using international to International connections to outgrown the competition. That would be ideal for an Indian airline.
Flights could be done. That is easy with the A358LR, 789, or 778. What is hard is profits. Seed the profits and capture markets India is ideally located for.
Or let the ME3/EU3 run the hubs. They have no problem collecting fees on transfer passengers.
Now I argued earlier connecting yield is dropping. So any competing Indian hub will lose money on connections for years. But if it enables direct flights, that enabled the direct flights you desire. As demand grows, copy EK and use large aircraft with lower cost per passenger to turn those connections profitable.
Even better, copy Dubai, allow a hotel building spree and boost tourism.
The more I think about this, the more morose I become on DWC's potential. Someone, oh.. like IST, will adopt the strategy. And ADD.
India will only slowly grow direct flights without international to International connections. Why not tap into easy business to BKK, HKT, DPS as well as larger business centers such as CGK, MEL, PER, SIN, and SYD to launch those EU flights? With the higher O&D of India, we could see global connectivity within a decade.
Or I can spend another decade describing why without connections Indian traffic must hub to a large fraction. Or how the fuel taxes push many to hub.
Winter is coming.