Emirate tops Delhi and Mumbai in terms of seat capacity on India’s busiest routes.

Competition is heating up in the Indian aviation sector, with capital Delhi overtaking financial capital Mumbai as leading international gateway by seats per week.

But, when it comes to hub status of India, there is a big question mark as Dubai enters the foray, overtaking both the Indian cities in terms of seat capacity on the country’s top routes.

According to a study by Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (Capa), Delhi and Mumbai feature six times in the country’s top 20 routes list, but Dubai features seven times.

Dubai-Mumbai and Dubai-Delhi are the busiest routes with the highest number of seat capacity, its figures showed.

The industry analysis and research firm said Dubai’s weekly seating capacity to Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kozhikode and Kochi also made it into the top 20 list.

Capa said last week that Dubai Airports is poised to become world’s second busiest airport in November 2011 from the current fourth sport. Dubai airport traffic rose nine per cent to 29.3 million in the first seven months of this year.

The largest regional traffic growth in July in terms of total passenger numbers was recorded on routes to and from GCC (218,987), the Indian subcontinent (68,063), Western Europe (58,586) and North America (37,435).

Aircraft movements during July totalled 27,166, up 4.2 per cent from the 26,065 posted during the same period last year.

Year-to-date aircraft movements numbered 317,664 up 6.8 per cent from 297,355 posted during the first seven months of 2010.

Quoting India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, Capa said bilateral air traffic agreements – particularly with the Gulf states – were detriment to the national carriers Air India and Indian Airlines as they’ve not been able to set their house in order.

The CAG report was presented to the Indian parliament last week.

It also highlighted that the Gulf used to be most profitable international routes for the national carriers prior to aviation liberalisation policy on bilateral agreements.