SpiceJet has highest load factor at 92%, IndiGo retains a third of market in August

New Delhi - SpiceJet was again able to beat market leader IndiGo and all other airlines with a passenger load factor of 92.1% this August, when domestic air travel grew almost 21 percent year on year.

SpiceJet was in fact the only airline which managed to fill 9 in 10 seats across its aircraft since two other LCC competitors, GoAir and IndiGo, managed only 75.6% and 76.8% load factors respectively, as per DGCA data.



Put simply, this means GoAir and IndiGo were unable to fill about one in four seats when SpiceJet was unable to fill only one in 10. Jet Airways was the second in this packing order since it managed to get 8 in 10 seats filled across its aircraft.

Vistara continued to be at the bottom in this ranking with barely two thirds of its aircraft seats occupied; Air India managed to fill almost 8 in 10 seats while AirAsia India was at 72.1%.

SpiceJet has been stimulating the market with frequent fire sales and discount offers. It has also not been able to climb back to the capacity it had same time last year in terms of number of aircraft in its fleet.

While sales push aircraft occupancy, lower load factors for other airlines must be seen in context of the capacity they offer. Market leader IndiGo operates 97 aircraft against 20 Boeing 737s, 1 Airbus A319s and 14 Bombardier Q-400 aircraft and GoAir's fleet of 19.

It is interesting to see that some LCCs have been lobbying against what they call "predatory fares" or the practice of offering limited aircraft inventory at rates which are below cost. This could affect sales and discounts on airline seats when in fact it is a well documented practice by LCCs worldwide.

Officials in the ministry of civil aviation have been pushing airlines to lower fares even as they concede the need to stop predatory pricing. If the government does resort to air fare regulation, it could affect the domestic market dynamics in the near future.

Meanwhile, IndiGo remained the largest domestic airline with 35.3% market share though its share has been coming down in recent months. It carried close to 24 lakh passengers, something Air India and Jet Airways combined had to do last month.

IndiGo retained its grip on a third of the market, Jet Airways was close to a fifth while SpiceJet was barely 12%. Air India and GoAir were at 16.4% and 8.2%, respectively.

The airline with the worst on-time performance in August was Air India, if we consider data from four busiest airports (Delhi, Bangalore, Bombay and Hyderabad). Almost one in four flights of AI from these airports was late.

SpiceJet also did not fare much better, with OTP of just 77.3% at these four airports. Vistara had the best OTP at 95.1% when IndiGo was at 90.6%
Not just OTP, Air India also held the dubious distinction of paying the highest compensation for flight delays, denying boarding and cancellations among all domestic operators. It shelled out over Rs 60 lakh to over 32,000 passengers.

Updated Date: Sep 22, 2015 21:30 PM

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