IndiGo's market share touches 50% on Jet closure, 737 Max grounding

IndiGo, the country’s largest domestic airline, now commands nearly half of the market share. IndiGo market share rose three percentage points to 49.9 per cent while overall growth turned negative in April due to closure of Jet Airways.

Domestic airlines flew 10.9 million passengers last month, which is 4.5 per cent lower than April last year. Last April, domestic airlines had carried 11.5 million passengers. The decline was due to suspension of operations by Jet, which had a market share of over 13 per cent at the start of the year.

Domestic traffic growth, which was at double-digit for 50 plus months, has started slowing. 

In January, growth slowed down to single digit and turned flat in March amid increase in fares and decline in capacity.

IndiGo benefitted the most from Jet closure and grounding of SpiceJet’s Boeing 737 Max fleet in April. Its market share rose from 46.9 per cent to 49.9 per cent on a sequential basis though number of additional passengers it carried was only 40,000. 

IndiGo flew 5.48 million passengers in April. All airlines, except SpiceJet, reported gains in market share during the month. SpiceJet’s market share fell from 13.6 to 13.1 per cent on a sequential basis.

“The market dynamics changed in April. Overall traffic slowed down in this month and thus IndiGo was able to increase its share just by keeping its passenger numbers constant,” said Ameya Joshi, founder of aviation blog NetworkThoughts. 

Currently, IndiGo continues to expand its fleet and has 230 aircraft. The airline, however, has missed capacity guidance for the fourth quarter in FY19 due to delays in aircraft induction.

“We expect IndiGo to continue its aggressive growth momentum but expansion will be evenly balanced between domestic and international operations starting FY20. The airline’s strategic intent is to work towards a more global profile which may reflect changing network profile,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia chief executive officer of aviation consultancy CAPA. 

SpiceJet continued to top the occupancy charts reporting 90 per cent plus load factor for the 49th consecutive month. “This is the 49th month in a row that SpiceJet has flown with the highest loads in India, a feat unparalleled in global aviation history. In April, our load factor stood at 93.7 per cent, which was the highest in the industry,” the airline’s chief sales and revenue officer Shilpa Bhatia said.

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