India’s airports report first drop in international traffic since March 2009; Kingfisher’s domestic share just 3% in August

India’s low-cost airlines are expanding at the expense of the country’s struggling network carriers. Growing SpiceJet now ranks #3 in the Indian domestic market and may soon take the second-spot from Jet Airways.

The most recent monthly airport statistics report published by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) shows that passenger numbers fell 6.3% in July 2012 compared with July 2011. Domestic traffic fell by 7.9% to 9.10 million passengers, the second month in a row that domestic traffic has fallen. However, international traffic also fell by 1.5% to 3.32 million passengers, the first year-on-year decline in demand since March 2009.

Indian international air traffic development Year-on-year change in monthly passengers: 1/07 to 7/12

Source: Airports Authority of India

Closer examination of international passenger numbers by airport shows that the country’s two main international airports at Delhi and Mumbai handled almost exactly half of all international traffic. Delhi reported a small increase of 0.7% in international passengers, but Mumbai’s international traffic fell by 2%. Of the top 10 international airports, four reported a drop in international passengers with Calicut (-21.1%) suffering the biggest decline.

India's top 10 international airports Change in passengers: July 2012 v July 2011 (International passengers in July 2012)

Source: Airports Authority of India

IndiGo’s domestic market share reaches record high of 27.6%

Latest data from the Indian DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) for August reveals that Kingfisher Airlines has seen its share of the Indian domestic air travel market fall to just 3.2%, making it only half as big as India’s next smallest domestic airlines, GoAir and JetLite, which have between 6.5% and 7.5% of the market.

The DGCA figures show that IndiGo has increased its lead in the domestic market, carrying 27.6% of all domestic passengers in August. The carrier also had the highest load factor among the seven airlines in August, at 73.4%, ahead of JetLite (68.6%), GoAir (67.7%), SpiceJet (67.2%), Air India (66.1%), Jet Airways (66.0%) and trailing way behind, troubled Kingfisher (53.2%).

Domestic market share of Indian airlines Share of domestic passenger: 1/2009 - 8/2012

Source: DGCA

A worrying trend for Indian carriers is that in August demand, as measured by RPKs (Revenue Passenger Kilometres), declined by 4.8%, while capacity, as measured by ASKs (Available Seat Kilometres) continued to grow marginally, by 0.1%. In the last 12 months capacity growth has outstripped demand growth on 11 occasions, with April 2012 the notable exception.


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