Monday, June 20, 2016

May 2016: Performances of Indian carriers in domestic aviation market

by Soumen Mukherjee
Airlines in India together carried a total of 86.69 lakh (8.66 million) passengers in the domestic sector in May 2016. Continuing its dream run with above 20% year on year growth rate, the domestic aviation sector had handled 396.04 lakh passengers with 22.87% growth during January-May 2016 over the same period a year ago. While the MoM growth rate for the month of May was at 21.63%. Going by the passenger growth figures and the planned capacity expansion in the coming months (LCCs like IndiGo, GoAir and FSC like Vistara), it can now be said that domestic aviation sector in India to record 100 million annual passenger for the first time in 2016.
While IndiGo maintained and further consolidated its top position in terms of domestic market share Jet Airways reported a decrease in both market share and passenger volume. SpiceJet continued to outperform others in terms of load factors with above 90% PLF for 13 straight months and AirAsia India occupied the top position in the on-time performance charts for the second straight months.

Among the ‘old’ airlines SpiceJet continued to record the highest MoM growth in terms of passenger volume as it had drastically reduced the capacity in early 2015 following December 2014 financial crisis. SpiceJet carried more than million monthly passengers for the third consecutive months. IndiGo, the market leader in passenger volume recorded more than 20.5% MoM growth in its May 2016 passenger volume, carried 33.37 lakhs passengers which is all time high monthly passengers carried by an Indian airline in the domestic sector. Jet Airways group, the second largest carrier in the domestic sector, had recorded positive growth in monthly passenger in May 2016. In the previous two months of March-April the airline registered flat growth in domestic passenger figures following Jet's move to divert domestic capacity to the international sectors. GoAir, the most low profile airline among the ‘old’ airlines, crossed the seven lakh monthly passenger mark for the first time in May 2016. It recorded 14.3% MoM growth and expected to report an even higher growth rate in its passenger numbers in the coming months as it undergoes fleet expansion from the second half of 2016.

Vistara further increased its lead over AirAsia India in terms of monthly passenger numbers in May 2016. Vistara, the largest carrier among the ‘new’ airlines outside FIA and Air India, crossed the 2 lakh monthly passenger mark for the first time. Vistara had carried 2.21 lakhs passengers while AirAsia India had carried 1.9 lakhs passengers in May 2016. After months of negative passenger growth, Air Costa recorded 6.5% increase in its monthly passenger figure in May 2016. The Vijayawada based regional carrier flew 65 thousand passenger but yet to achieve its lifetime high of 71 thousands passengers in December 2014. Among the two turbo-props only regional airline Hyderabad based TruJet continued to outperform its Bengaluru based neighbour Air Pegasus. While TruJet had carried 41 thousand passengers, Air Pegasus lags behind by 20 thousand as it carried only 21 thousand passenger in May 2016.

IndiGo, the largest carrier in the domestic sector, has further consolidated its leadership position with 38.5% market share in May 2016 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 19.0% (combined market share of Jet Airways and Jet Lite) but it is down more than two percentage point than its May 2015 (21.5%) market share. National carrier Air India had managed to retain above 15% market share, a base it broke earlier in February. Among the 'old' airline, SpiceJet had considerably improved its market share on MoM basis. In May 2016, SpiceJet recorded 12.6% market share. GoAir achieved a steady 8.1% market share in May 2016 although it is less than its May 2015 market share of 8.8%;

Among the ‘new’ carriers all but Air Costa have increased their market share in May 2016. While AirAsia India and Vistara both have more than doubled their May 2015 passenger volumes with triple digit MoM growth. Air Pegasus has captured 0.2% market share which completed its one year of operation 12 April 2016. TruJet, the only airline to commence in last 12 months has captured 0.5% market share in May 2016.
Delhi had experienced bad weather for several days during May, in fact on 23 May 2016 air traffic movement were suspended for hours at Delhi airport. So airlines with large operation (or large share of its total operation) in Delhi struggled to maintain their flights on-time. Which in turn impacted overall OTPs of airline in May 2016. AirAsia India had maintained its leadership position for the second straight months. GoAir and SpiceJet two airlines which have performed extremely well on the PLF front, have reported sub 80% OTP. Not surprisingly Air India occupied the bottom in terms of its on-time performance in May 2016 where it reported more than 25% of its flights operating late.
  May being the best performing month during the summer peak season, load factors had improved from the previous months across airlines. And there were no surprise as SpiceJet once again had topped the PLF chart with 93.5% in May 2016 with this SpiceJet had reported more than 90% PLF for 13 straight months. And it has become the king of loads in Indian domestic aviation sector. Thanks to their frequent 'sales', not just SpiceJet, all low-cost airlines have performed much better than their full-service competitors with top five positions being occupied by them. Among the three full-service carriers Air India performed better than Jet Airways and Vistara as the difference between Air India and Jet Airways's was more than tow percentage point. The May passenger rush played a boost for Vistara as it crossed 80% PLF mark for the first time. It was May 2015 when the new carrier first achieved above 70% PLF. As of May 2016, Vistara marginally improved its position on the PLF chart as it moved one position up from the bottom position where it spent most time during its 17 months of operation. 

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