New Delhi: Aggressive fare schemes and a vastly improved on-time performance are perhaps the two biggest reasons why Air India has managed to overtake Jet Airways in market share in the domestic aviation space in September.
More people flew Air India on the domestic sectors than Jet Airways – a trend which should certainly worry Jet since it is also losing out to the low-cost competitor IndiGo for the last several months.
According to data released this evening by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), 7.75 lakh passengers boarded an Air India flight in September against 7.29 lakh who chose to fly Jet Airways with respective market shares at 19.1 percent and 18.3 percent. In effect, Air India accounted for one in five domestic passengers while Jet accounted for a little less than that.
In August, Air India’s share of the market stood at 18.2 percent whereas Jet was at 18.7 percent.
IndiGo remained the clear market leader since almost 11 lakh (10.9 lakh) people chose to take the airline, giving it a market share of 27.2 percent. If its meteoric rise in market share continues, soon it will command a third of the overall domestic market.
Also, these market share shakeups happened in a month which saw a significant decline in total air passengers: 40.18 lakh against 43.69 lakh in August this year, or about 8 percent.
During September, JetLite lost market share from 6.5 percent in August to 5.7 percent; SpiceJet maintained share at 18.5 percent while GoAir also remained almost at the same place with 7.6 percent against 7.4 percent in August. Kingfisher Airlines was at 3.5 percent versus 3.2 percent in August.
It was interesting to see that in a declining market, not a single airline was even able to fill 7 out of 10 seats on its planes, with IndiGo managing to get 69 percent of seats filled with paying passengers. After Kingfisher Airlines (which managed to fill only 58 percent of its flights), Jet Airways was, in fact, the worst performer at 63.5 percent!
Also, DGCA data show that September was the fifth consecutive month when domestic demand declined but capacity (number of seats on offer by all domestic airlines) was still ahead of demand.