Monday, April 25, 2016

March 2016: Performances of Indian carriers in domestic aviation market

by Soumen Mukherjee
Airlines in India together carried a total of 78.72 lakh (7.87 million) passengers in the domestic sector in March 2016. Continuing its dream run with above 20% year on year growth rate, the domestic aviation sector had handled 230.03 lakh passengers with 24.03% growth during January-March 2016 over that of the same period a year ago. While the MoM growth rate for the month of March was at 25.25%. While IndiGo maintained and further consolidated its top position in terms of domestic market share, SpiceJet continued to outperform others in terms of load factors with above 90% PLF for 11 straight months and Vistara topped the on-time performance charts once again for 8 straight months. Among the highlights all airlines except Air Costa has increased their Available Seat Kilometers (ASKM), and number of passenger carried compared to that of March 2015.  

Among the 'old' airlines SpiceJet continued to record the highest MoM growth in terms of passenger volumes as it had drastically reduced its capacity in early 2015 following December 2014 financial crisis. SpiceJet once again gained its million monthly passengers mark which it had achieved in January 2016 after a gap of 14 months. IndiGo, the market leader in terms of market share, recorded more than 32.2% MoM growth in its March passenger numbers, carried 30.23 lakh passengers which is all time high for the month of March. IndiGo achieved more than three million monthly passengers for the first time in its entire history. While Jet Airways and Air India came at second and third position respectively, Air India has recorded moderate growth in passengers numbers over that of March 2015; Jet Airways reported a flat growth of passengers numbers during the same period. GoAir continued to record double digit MoM growth in March 2016 as well as a result of better capacity utilization as it had not added new capacity during the period.

Among the 'new' carrier Vistara recorded highest MoM growth rate in its monthly passenger numbers at 198.1%; While AirAsia India too more than doubled its monthly passengers in March 2016 compared to that of March 2015; Despite operating a smaller fleet compared to that of Vistara, AirAsia India continued to record higher monthly passengers than Vistara. Air Costa was the only airline which actually registered a negative growth in its passenger numbers which saw 12.9% MoM decrease in its March 2016 passenger figures due to reduction in its fleet size which is expected to be compensated in the coming months as the airline added the third E-190 in its fleet recently in March 2016. Both TruJet and Air Pegasus had not commenced their operation back in March 2015; 
In March 2016, almost all 'old' airlines, except IndiGo and SpiceJet, have lost market share compared to March 2015; While IndiGo further consolidated its leadership position with 38.4% market share in March 2016 which is two percentage point higher than that of March 2015 but still IndiGo is short off its lifetime high market share of 38.9% which it had recorded back in May 2015; Jet Group as expected came second with 20.2% (combined market share of Jet Airways and Jet Lite) but it is down more than 5 percentage point than its March 2015 (25.4%) market share. But there exists a steady gap of around 18% between No 1 IndiGo and No 2 jet Airways; National carrier Air India continued losing its market share and achieved 14.7% market share in March which is around 2.2 percentage point down from its March 2015 (16.9%) market share. SpiceJet, the only 'old' airline to improve its market share on YoY basis, is once again coming close to Air India and becoming a potential contender for the third position, SpiceJet had already achieved third largest market share back in summer 2014 but following its December 2014 financial crisis its market share went down sharply. In March 2016, SpiceJet recorded 12.8% market share compared to 14.7% by Air India, although it will not be easy to close the 2 percentage point gap given the large passenger base but SpiceJet is once again showing potential to become the third largest airline in the domestic market. GoAir achieved a steady 8.3% market share in March 2016 although it is less than its March 2015 market share of 8.8%; 

Among the 'new' airlines all airlines have increased their market share except Air Costa. While AirAsia India and Vistara almost maintained their lifetime best market share of December 2015, Air Costa saw a decrease in its market share from 1.0% in March 2015 to 0.7% in March 2016; Two new regional carriers TruJet and Air Pegasus commenced their operations during the last one year while TruJet achieved 0.4% market share, Air Pegasus occupied 0.2% achieved in March 2016;

As usual Vistara occupied the top position in the OTP chart of March 2016 as well. It is best performing airline in terms of on-time performance for eight straight months. in March 2016, AirAsia India showed great improvement in its on-time performance as its OTP crossed 83% mark after a long gap, during the entire winter months it continued to report very poor (below 60%) OTP result. While IndiGo was at number 2 with 86.8%, it was closely followed by SpiceJet Airways at 84.1% for the month of March. Air India and GoAir both reported around 80% of their flights on-time. But surprisingly Jet Airways positioned at the bottom in terms of its on-time performance in March 2016 where it reported more than 30% of its flights operating late.

SpiceJet has become the king of loads in Indian domestic aviation sector, it had continued to record more than 90% passenger load factors for 11 straight months. Most airlines saw an increase in their passenger load factors on YoY basis barring few airlines like Jet Airways. Vistara has improved a lot in terms of PLF over the last year but still short of its lifetime high of 77.6% in December 2015; As of March 2016, Vistara is still at the bottom position in the PLF chart. 

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