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Aviation Sector: IndiGo flying high with 31.6% market share

The Economic Times:  May, 2014

New Delhi: Low-cost carrier IndiGo retained the top position in the domestic passenger aviation market in April, grabbing 31.6% of market share as it carried nearly onethird of domestic air travellers during the month.

IndiGo was also the carrier to gain the most from the discount windows opened in February, which covered the travel month of April. The airline carried 11% more passengers in April at 16.8 lakh against 15.1 lakh in the same month last year.IndiGo's increased passenger numbers were also helped by an increase in its capacity. The Gurgaon-based carrier has been adding around one plane every month and had 13,777 departures in April as compared with 11,426 in the year-ago month. Despite the positives, the increased capacity resulted in a fall in IndiGo's load factor, a measure of the average occupancy rate of flights, in April to 76.9% against 83.3% last year.

IndiGo's growth beat the overall growth in the market with the total number of air travellers in April increasing by only 2.02% at 53.2 lakh compared with 50.8 lakh in the same month last year. But for rival low-cost carrier SpiceJet, April was another month of falling passenger numbers. The airline witnessed about a 4% drop in passenger numbers to 9.5 lakh. The airline, which sparked off all the five discount windows between January and March, had a market share of 17.9% in April, down from 19.6% in the same month last year.

Unlike IndiGo, SpiceJet had cut capacity in April and had 9,190 departures during the month as compared with 9,438.

The lower capacity did not help in Spice-Jet's occupancy rate or load factors, which fell marginally to 73.3% in April against 75% in the same month last year. The Jet Airways group (including Jet Airways and JetLite) took the second spot in terms of market share for April with Jet Airways securing a market share of 17.5% and JetLite a share of 4.3%, giving the group a combined market share of 21.8%.

JetLite, which operates under the Jet-Konnect brand, managed to fill up its flights more with a 76% load factor in April as compared with Jet Airways, which had a load factor of 70.9%. The combined market share for the Jet Airways group fell marginally from the same month last year when it had a 22.6% market share.

National carrier Air India also saw its market share erode to 18.3% in April from 19.2% in the same month last year. The airline carried 9.74 lakh passengers during the month, registering an average load factor of 73.3%. Mumbai-based low-cost carrier GoAir also gained market share in April at 9.5%.