Indian domestic demand bounces back with a vengeance; Jet passes Kingfisher as local #1

Image: Kingfisher
As reported last week, Kingfisher launched flights between Chennai and Salem airport, greeting passengers with the traditional aarti tika ceremony.

India’s domestic air traffic has returned to impressive growth during the period June to October. However, in reality what this means is that demand has returned to the levels achieved during the summer of 2007. In October, traffic was up almost 10% compared with the same month two years ago. However, one negative point was that MDLR Airlines, which had less than half of one percent of the Indian domestic market, ceased operations from the beginning of October.

Chart: Indian domestic air traffic development - Year-on-year change in monthly passengers: 2006 to 2009
Source: Airports Authority of India

According to government statistics, Kingfisher was still the leading single airline with 20.7% of the market, but Jet Airways (19.8%) and JetLite (7.9%) combined were considerably larger with a 27.7% share of the market. NACIL (which includes Indian Airlines and Air India) had 18.6% of the market, while IndiGo (13.6%) and Spicejet (12.4%) both maintained their market shares.

MDLR aircraft
Despite an impressive return to traffic levels above those achieved, in 2007, India’s airline industry has not been without its casualties. MDLR Airlines, which operated three RJ70s, ceased operations at the beginning of October. However, the airline carried less than 1 in every 200 domestic passengers.

The biggest gainer so far this year has been GoAir, which has seen its market share more than double from 2.5% in January to 5.4% in October. Paramount is now the smallest of the operating airlines with around 1.5% of domestic demand.


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