Which airlines do you prefer for your commute? Typically, the first choices that come to mind are IndiGo or Air India. While there are other airlines, like SpiceJet, Akasa, Vistara, and Air Asia, they often take a back seat in preferences. The reason behind this preference is the current state of the domestic aviation industry in India, which seems to be moving towards a duopoly scenario. The two prominent players in this market are Air India and IndiGo.
Personal preferences may vary, and some people might have different experiences or preferences with other airlines. However, if we consider the overall market dynamics and popular opinion, Air India and IndiGo often emerge as the primary options for most commuters.
IndiGo and Air India: Both at each other’s throats
In the largest-ever deal, IndiGo made history by placing the order for 500 Airbus A320 family single-aisle aircraft — at the Paris Air Show on June 19th 2022.
IndiGo CEO, in a statement, said, “It is difficult to overstate the significance of IndiGo’s new historic order for 500 Airbus A320 Family aircraft. An order book now of almost 1,000 aircraft well into the next decade enables IndiGo to fulfil its mission to continue to boost economic growth, social cohesion and mobility in India. At IndiGo, we take pride in being India’s preferred airline for connectivity in and with India; and, by doing so, being one of the leading airlines in the world.”
On the next day, Air India made it to the headlines for placing an order for 470 aircraft from Boeing and Airbus. Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons and Air India, said that “This landmark step further positions Air India for long-term growth and success that, we have every hope, will come together to represent the best of modern aviation to the world.”
What’s the Current Situation in Aviation Industry?
Due to no new fleet additions planned for SpiceJet and the grounding of the entire Go First fleet, the Indian aviation industry is left with two evident significant players. As per the estimates, both will have a domestic market share of approximately 80% or more in future, which is huge.
Let’s try to understand what is currently happening with other airlines.
SpiceJet is going through financial troubles, and its services are deteriorating. As of December 31, 2022, the company’s net worth stood at a negative Rs 5,801 crore. It is facing bankruptcy proceedings as the Ireland-based aircraft lessor Aircastle Ltd has moved the principal bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to launch a bankruptcy case against SpiceJet.
Backed by the late Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Akasa Air is a relatively new player in the Indian aviation industry. Launched in December 2021, it is still too small and lacks experience compared to more established players. As a new entrant, Akasa Air will likely face challenges in establishing its presence and competing with the dominant players.
Go First is struggling to resume its operations as it seeks $122 million in additional funding. The Go First bankruptcy filing lists Central Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank and Deutsche Bank among its creditors, which are owed Rs 6,521 crore in total.
The Future Looks Promising for Air India and IndiGo. But How?
And the answer is – Number of passengers.
As India continues to experience economic growth and rising disposable incomes, more people are opting for travel via air. Moreover, increased affordability and accessibility, along with a growing middle class, have led to higher demand for air transportation.
The aviation industry is going to experience massive growth in the coming years. In May 2022, the passenger count was 114.67 lakh, which in May 2023 rose to 132.41 lakhs, registering a Month-on-Month growth of 15.24%. The overall passenger number in May 2023 increased by 3.26 lakhs (2.52%) as compared to April 2023.
“The increased passenger figures indicate a growing demand for air travel and highlight the positive trajectory of the aviation sector. This achievement is a result of the meticulous planning, operational efficiency, and proactive measures taken by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and airlines also who have ramped up their operations despite the two-year Covid-19 slowdown to ensure a seamless travel experience for passengers,” said the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) in a press statement.
These numbers show that the Indian aviation industry is flying high. IndiGo and Air India are confident about their growth in the future, thus holding a dominant position in the Indian Aviation industry.