Wednesday, May 24, 2023

IndiGo And Tata Group Airlines Now Control More Than 80% Of Indian Market

The early 2000s marked the beginning of a significant churn in Indian aviation. The dominance of a handful of full-service carriers (out of reach for most Indians) was about to be challenged by budget air travel.

Airlines, such as IndiGo, SpiceJet, and Go First (it was called GoAir back then), burst onto the scene, opening the floodgates for millions of first-time flyers nationwide. Even Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines were forced to launch low-cost brands such as Kingfisher Red and Jet Konnect.

The overwhelming sense prevailing in that era in India was that of democratization of air travel (to a great extent, if not entirely), where no single airline dominated the market, and airfares were kept competitive for passengers. But the latest data by the Indian regulator, the DGCA, suggests new dominant forces in an ever-evolving sector.

By now, the DGCA figures every month follow a predictable pattern, at least as far as airlines’ market share is concerned. Nobody is surprised by IndiGo commanding a presence of more than 50%, while other airlines remain primarily in the single digits.

But a close examination of these figures reveals an interesting trend. IndiGo is now in the region of the late 50s and inching towards the 60% mark, with a 57.5% market share in April. On the other hand, Air India, Vistara, and AirAsia India individually come nowhere close to IndiGo but collectively command a quarter of the Indian domestic market.

Currently, India’s domestic aviation is controlled by two forces – IndiGo on one side and the Tata Group airlines on the other. Together, they have a grasp over an eye-watering 82.4% of the Indian market.

Many are now wondering whether the aviation sector in the country is headed towards a duopoly. The term is being loosely thrown around for now because Vistara and Air India are technically still different airlines until their merger, and AirAsia India will eventually merge with Air India Express. But there’s little doubt that two power blocks dominate the Indian aviation space currently.

24/05/2023 Gaurav Joshi/Simple Flying

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