Indian domestic market up 20% in 2010 Q1; Jet/Jet Lite still leads Kingfisher domestically; Emirates top foreign airline

Air Asia

Although Air Asia does not currently make the list of top international airlines serving India, the airline is growing its presence. In the last week flights were launched between Penang and Chennai and further Indian launches have been announced to take place later this year.

Domestic air travel in India has reported growth of 20% in the first quarter of 2010. After the double-digit falls in traffic in the first quarter of 2009, this means that passenger numbers are up around 7% on the figures reported in the first quarter of 2008. India’s domestic traffic slump began in June 2008 and lasted 12 months.

Chart: Indian domestic air traffic development Year-on-year change in monthly passengers: 2006 to 2010

Source: Airports Authority of India, DGCA India

The combined might of Jet Airways and its subsidiary Jet Lite continues to have the largest share of the Indian domestic market based on passenger numbers. In the first quarter of 2010, the Jet Airways Group has averaged around 26% of the market compared with Kingfisher at around 23%. These two carriers (which have absorbed the likes of Air Sahara and Air Deccan in recent years) carry almost one in every two passengers around India.

Chart: Domestic market share of Indian airlines - Share of domestic passengers carried in 2009-2010

Source: DGCA India

So far in 2010, there have been no significant developments in the domestic landscape with the rankings of the nine major domestic airlines remaining unchanged.

Kingfisher looks to increase its share of international market

While not expanding significantly in the domestic market Kingfisher has recently launched a raft of new international routes. At the start of the summer season it began daily flights to London Heathrow from Delhi, followed quickly by Delhi – Hong Kong services, Bangkok services from both Delhi and Mumbai, Dubai services from Delhi and Mumbai, and Kathmandu services from Delhi.

These new route launches will increase Kingfisher’s share of the Indian international market where in the first two months of 2010 it had less than 7% of the market among Indian carriers. In January and February combined, Kingfisher carried just 106,000 passengers on international flights, or around one in every 15 international passengers flying with an Indian airline.

  January 2010 February 2010
Jet Airways 364,041 (42.0%) 312,499 (42.3%)
Air India 267,270 (30.8%) 225,135 (30.5%)
Indian Airlines 160,908 (18.6%) 136,306 (18.4%)
Kingfisher 57,316 (6.6%) 48,831 (6.6%)
Total all carriers* 867,361 (100%) 739,336 (100%)
Load factor all carriers* 78.1% 72.4%
Source: DGCA India
*Air India Express figures not yet published for 2010. In 2009 Air India Express carried around two million passengers, similar to Indian Airlines and behind Air India (2.9 million) and Jet Airways (3.5 million).

Air India and Indian Airlines combined (or NACIL – National Aviation Company of India Limited as the combined government controlled entity is catchily named) has around 50% of the market among the reporting Indian carriers with Jet Airways closing the gap gradually.

Emirates biggest non-Indian carrier serving Indian international market

Chart: Indian international routes - Leading carriers by weekly one-way seat capacity

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 12 April 2010

Indian carriers operate around 38% of the scheduled seat capacity on international flights to and from India. Analysing schedule data for April 2010 reveals that Emirates is the third largest carrier by weekly seat capacity behind Jet and NACIL (which also includes Air India Express). Two other Middle Eastern carriers, Air Arabia and Qatar Airways, both rank inside the top 10, while the leading Asian carriers are Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines. The leading European carriers are Lufthansa and British Airways. Lufthansa serves seven Indian airports non-stop from Frankfurt and two from Munich, while British Airways serves five destinations from London Heathrow. The two destinations that Lufthansa serves but BA does not are Kolkata and Pune.


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