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Corporate Dec 19, 2012

IndiGo mkt leader, AI flies past Jet but slips on on-time performance

By Sindhu Bhattacharya

New Delhi: Air India continues to hold on to a fifth of the domestic air travel market while IndiGo remains the clear leader with more than one in four passengers preferring to travel with it this November.

During 2012, IndiGo has flown past Jet Airways to gain market leadership whereas in the second half of the year, Air India has improved its market share and on-time performance dramatically. Both have obviously taken away market share from erstwhile leader Jet,
which has meanwhile withdrawn flights on some unprofitable routes, both on domestic as well as international sectors.

Reuters

There could be further threat to Jet in case Kingfisher Airlines does return to the skies, as its promoter Vijay Mallya claims, with limited operations in the next couple of months. Kingfisher has been grounded since October one this year. Also, the domestic air travel market is already shrinking and unless Jet has a long-term strategy up its sleeve, its market share may well slide further in the coming months.

According to data released by the Director General of Civil Aviation this evening, domestic air travel market shrunk by almost four lakh passengers to 50.20 lakh this November against 54.14 lakh passengers in the same month last year. Between January and November this year, the number of domestic air passengers declined by about 3% to 534.14 lakh against 550.32 in the same 11-month period last year. As per DGCA data, IndiGo held 27.3% of the domestic market, AI held 20.7%, SpiceJet 19.5%, Jet Airways 18.3%, GoAir 7.4% and JetLite 6.9% market share.
In November, which was a festive month, all domestic airlines showed an improvement in seat factors which measures number of seats occupied against the total number of seats sold. Keeping up with its performance in all of 2012, IndiGo managed to fill more of its aircraft than any other airline at almost 8.5 seats for every 10 on offer. Air India came a close second at almost 8 seats but Jet lagged behind with just 7.4 seats in 10. So while IndiGo and AI could easily fill three fourths of each aircraft, Jet could not. SpiceJet, a low fare airline like InidGo, Jet's own low fare subsidiary JetLite and GoAir all managed to fill three fourths of their aircraft. This clearly shows that among full service carriers, only Air India reached this benchmark.

But on the parameter of on-time performance, Air India slipped badly in November when compared to October this year since it managed ontime operations in less than 7 flights in 10 in November against more than 8 out of 10 in October.

Unless this issue is addressed urgently by the airline, it could slip back to its previous records of less than 70% OTP and this could well make it lose precious market share in the long run. IndiGo remained the most trustworthy on OTP with more than 9 of its 10 flights landing and taking off on time at the country's six big airports even though it slipped a bit from the October OTP of over 96%. Jet together with JetLite was almost 85% on time, followed by SpiceJet at 82.2% and GoAir at 74.4%.

by Sindhu Bhattacharya

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