Indian market regains its swagger; Jet Airways, Kingfisher, Indian Airlines and IndiGo all fighting to be domestic #1

Kolkata was the fastest-growing of India’s major airports in 2010. Along with Delhi, which also grew in double digits, the two Indian airports got new, daily low-cost services with Thai AirAsia from Bangkok in December.

Kolkata was the fastest-growing of India’s major airports in 2010. Along with Delhi, which also grew in double digits, the two Indian airports got new, daily low-cost services with Thai AirAsia from Bangkok in December.

After declining in 2008 and growing modestly in 2009, India’s domestic air travel market boomed once again in 2010 with growth of almost 19%, generating some 52 million passenger movements. December was the busiest month in Indian aviation history with over five million passengers travelling within India for the first time.

Source: Airports Authority of India

Source: Airports Authority of India

The battle for supremacy among India’s biggest airlines continues to be intense. For 2010 as a whole, Jet Airways and JetLite combined grabbed a 26% share of the passenger market, followed by Kingfisher (20.6%), Indian Airlines / NACIL (17.6%), IndiGo (16.3%) and SpiceJet (12.9%). GoAir with just under 6% was the only other significant carrier in the market.

Source: Airports Authority of India, DGCA India

Source: Airports Authority of India, DGCA India

However, since the beginning of the year Kingfisher’s share has declined from 23% to just under 19% while at the same time IndiGo has consistently grown its share from 15% to just over 18%. As a result, if we treat JetLite as a separate company, by the end of the year there were four carriers with between 17% and 19% of the market, a very competitive state of affairs.

International traffic up over 10% this year

International traffic growth at Indian airports was above 10% for eight of the 12 months in 2010, peaking in May at 16%. For the year as a whole, the growth rate was around 11.5%, with December reporting the lowest growth of just 6%.

Source: Airports Authority of India

Source: Airports Authority of India

Last time we examined the Indian market, we looked at the Middle East market in more detail. This time, we turn our attention to the Western European market. This winter, a total of 13 destinations in Western Europe are connected to India with non-stop services, with London Heathrow having by far the most capacity, although Frankfurt offers more destinations.

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 7 March 2011

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 7 March 2011

Jet Airways is the leading Indian carrier to Europe thanks to its ‘scissor-hub’ at Brussels Airport and its services to London Heathrow and Milan Malpensa. Air India also serves just three Western European airports (London Heathrow, Frankfurt and Paris) while Kingfisher serves just London Heathrow.

Kolkata is fastest-growing airport in 2010

India’s six busiest airports have all reported double-digit growth in the period April to December. As the table below shows, total traffic growth (domestic and international combined) ranged from 19.0% for Kolkata down to 12.5% for Delhi. International traffic growth at these six airports varied between 22.2% for Kolkata and 9.9% for Hyderabad.

Airport Total growth Domestic growth International growth
Kolkata (CCU) +19.0% +18.4% +22.2%
Bengaluru (BLR) +17.5% +18.1% +15.0%
Hyderabad (HYD) +16.0% +18.3% +9.9%
Chennai (MAA) +15.0% +17.0% +11.4%
Mumbai (BOM) +13.3% +14.3% +11.1%
Delhi (DEL) +12.5% +13.4% +10.5%
Source: AAI (Data is for period April – December 2010 compared with same period previous year)

The ICC Cricket World Cup (which started last week and finishes at the beginning of April) features national teams from 14 countries and will hopefully have some positive impact on passenger demand as fans follow their teams around India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.


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