AirAsia India helps stimulate Indian domestic air traffic; passenger numbers up 12.6% in June

AirAsia Bengaluru to Goa launch

When not in London supporting his beloved Queens Park Rangers, football/soccer team in the English Premier League, Tony Fernandes (front row, second from left) still finds time to help launch the occasional new airline, this time AirAsia India. A joint venture with the Tata Group and Telestra Tradeplace, the new carrier finally launched commercial flights on 12 June with a Bengaluru to Goa service. In July AirAsia India carried some 25,000 passengers (according to DGCA figures) giving it a modest 0.5% of the Indian domestic market.

India’s airports have reported passenger growth of 7.3% to 46.06 million in the second quarter of 2014. Domestic demand has risen by 7.4% to 33.76 million, while international traffic has increased by 7.0% to 12.30 million. Mumbai was the fastest-growing among India’s top six busiest airports seeing passenger numbers rise by 9.2% to 8.8 million in the period April to June 2014. Among the country’s smaller airports there was impressive second quarter growth from Bagdogra (+47.3%), Dibrugarh (+33.7%), Ranchi (+30.0%), Leh (+29.3%), Varanasi (+27.9%) and Amritsar (+25.6%).

Bagdogra Airport, located in West Bengal in the north-east of India, has welcomed several new services in the last year. In December, IndiGo launched daily flights from both Guwahati and Kolkata, as well as Delhi flights in February of this year. Last month saw the airport’s first ever international flights operated by an Indian carrier with the introduction of SpiceJet’s flights to Kathmandu in Nepal.

AirAsia India up and running; Vistara coming soon

India’s domestic aviation market grew by 4.5% in April, 5.5% in May and 12.6% in June. This double-digit growth coincided with the launch of AirAsia India which operated its first commercial flight between Bengaluru and Goa on 12 June. Since then it has added flights to Chennai and Kochi, and is scheduled to add Chandigarh and Jaipur to its network later this week.

Chart - Source: Airports Authority of India.

Source: Airports Authority of India.

According to DGCA, in its first full month of operations (July) AirAsia India’s share of the domestic market was 0.5%. Leading the way is IndiGo with 30.7% followed by SpiceJet (20.9%), Air India (18.0%), Jet Airways (15.7%) and GoAir (9.2%). JetLite accounts for a further 3.9% of the market while Air Costa has 1.1%.

Before the end of the year at least one further new carrier is likely to enter the market with the joint venture airline between Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, now named Vistara, expected to start commercial operations some time in October, subject to obtaining its AOC (Air Operator’s Certificate). The airline’s planned route network has not yet been revealed, but the full service carrier is believed to be concentrating on routes in the northern part of India.

SpiceJet responsible for rapid international growth at Madurai and Pune

International traffic at India’s airports grew by 7% in the second quarter of 2014. Delhi and Mumbai are the two busiest airports by far for international passengers, but with growth of 8.3%, Mumbai has narrowed the gap to Delhi, which grew by just 2.8% during this period. Airports which have seen significant growth in international traffic between April and June, include Madurai (+82.9%), Pune (+82.0%), Jaipur (+38.2%) and Tiruchirappalli (+30.0%).

Chart - Indian international air traffic development Year-on-year change in monthly pax: 1/07 to 6/14

Source: Airports Authority of India.

Madurai’s rapid international growth is down to the launch of SpiceJet’s service to Dubai on 22 November 2013, while Pune has benefited from the launch of a four times weekly SpiceJet service to Sharjah on 21 September 2013. Jaipur became Etihad Airways’ 10th destination in India, when a new service from Abu Dhabi was introduced on 2 April.



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