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Analysis of fleet share vs. passenger share in the Indian airline industry

Every month passengers are bombarded with statistics by various airlines in India. Best on-time performance, largest market share, most preferred airline …… the list is endless.

Mathematical logic would dictate that an airline with the largest fleet of aircraft will have also have the largest share of the market, but an analysis of the passenger market share vs. the fleet share, based on the number of aircraft in each airline’s fleet, throws up some very interesting results.

Indian domestic airline market – Fleet share (based on number of aircraft) vs. market share (based on number of passengers)


The airline with the largest fleet in the domestic market is Air India, but its market share of the number of passengers is low, and therefore results in a low fleet hare to passenger share ratio of 0.62.

Kingfisher leads the full service carrier segment with a fleet to market share ratio of 0.95, but this also includes figures from their low cost Kingfisher Red service. Passenger market share leader Jet Airways is at 0.82 and this includes their low fare service Jet Konnect.

For a better comparison between Jet and Kingfisher, if we add-up the numbers of Jet’s other low fare subsidiary JetLite, the total group ratio of Jet at 0.865 still remains well behind Kingfisher’s 0.95, suggesting a far more aggressive fleet utilisation strategy by Dr. Mallya’s airline.

Expectedly, the low fare carrier side, shows much higher ratios, due to their higher usage of aircraft and also the higher number of seats offered per flight due to an all-economy configuration. The laggard is JetLite with a ratio of 1 while SpiceJet and IndiGo are neck and neck at 1.75 and 1.76. In defence of SpiceJet, their figures appear lower since they inducted their 22nd aircraft only at the end of the month which skews the results.

The surprise of the whole exercise are the results of industry minnow GoAir, who have an industry leading, fleet to passenger share ratio of 2.04. Clearly the airline has shaken off the demons of the past and is aggressive in their fleet utilisation.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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