Monday, July 25, 2022

IndiGo welcomes Akasa Air, launches seventh Bengaluru-Kochi flight hours after new airline announces routes

InterGlobe Aviation-run IndiGo airlines on July 22 launched its seventh frequency flight on the Bengaluru - Kochi route, hours after Akasa Air announced that it plans to operate five flights between the two cities from August 13.

IndiGo, the largest airline in India in terms of market share, has a history of choking out the competition through its aggressive route offerings and frequencies on those routes.

"Back when AirAsia India and Vistara had started their operations in India in 2014 as well, IndiGo started adding capacity to counter the competition for newcomers," said Lokesh Sharma, a senior defense and aviation analyst.

He added that before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2018 and 2019, IndiGo has often used its fleet size and market share to squeeze out the competition in the Indian skies.

Back in 2018, former Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb had written to the aviation ministry, urging it to intervene in what he characterized as an airline exploiting a monopolistic situation on the Agartala-Kolkata route after a rival was forced to stop flights.

Kumar had in his letter said that airfares on the Agartala-Kolkata route had risen 150 percent after IndiGo had used its fleet size and financial might to squeeze everyone else out of the market.

IndiGo operates on nearly 550 routes in India, more than double the routes offered by any other airline in the country, according to data from Ameya Joshi from aviation analysis website Network Thoughts. Air India and SpiceJet both operate on around 270 routes in the country.

Furthermore, on 194 of the 531 routes that IndiGo operates, the airline had an absolute monopoly or has a capacity share of 75 percent. It also has 50 percent or more capacity share on 470 routes.

24/07/22 Moneycontrol

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