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The nightly aircraft line-up tail parade at the apron of Kempegowda International Airport Bangalore
The nightly aircraft line-up at the apron of Kempegowda International Airport Bangalore

Infographics: Domestic performance of Indian carriers over last 12 months

Bangalore Aviation has produced a set of graphics which provide significant insight in the domestic operating performance of Indian carriers for the last 12 months. The source data is obtained from India’s regulator The Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

On time performance

One of the key selling points of IndiGo, India’s largest domestic airline, is, on time performance (OTP). As the graphic below shows, IndiGo has performed to its promise, and consistently led the industry on this key metric. National carrier Air India was the consistent laggard.

The graphic highlights the dominance of New Delhi in the airline network.  The airport is the largest in India and home to four airlines. Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet and Vistara, the Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture. Come the winter fog season from December to February, and schedules of all the airlines head south, and have a cascading effect through the airlines’ networks.

The OTP of low fare carrier SpiceJet is reflective of the financial problems that hit the airline through the latter half of last year. In subsequent graphics you will also observe the impact on flight cancellations and passenger complaints for the Gurgaon head-quartered airline.

Surprisingly the DGCA did not report OTP of AirAsia India which has been operating for almost a year and for Air Costa which has been operating for much longer. The declining performance at Air Costa again reflecting the financial problems that hit the airline recently.

One year domestic performance of Indian carriers - June 2014 to May 2015 - On Time Performance at 4 private airports
Domestic one year performance of Indian carriers – June 2014 to May 2015 – On Time Performance at four Indian airports

Flight cancellation rate

The graphic shows the percent of flights cancelled per month. The spike in the winter is as a direct effect of the notorious fog of New Delhi. However, the erratic performance of Air Costa, and SpiceJet reflect their financial troubles. SpiceJet topped the charts with almost 33% of its flights cancelled in December 2014. Air Costa has been going all over the charts. AirAsia India too had a torrid winter, but it was more due to HR issues than weather.

Domestic one year performance of Indian carriers - June 2014 to May 2015 - Flight cancellation rates
Domestic one year performance of Indian carriers – June 2014 to May 2015 – Flight cancellation rates

Passenger complaint rate

The service levels and therefore complaint levels have been largely consistent through the last year. Complaints peak when flights are delayed or cancelled. A reflection of the toothless CAR (civil aviation requirement) instituted by the government which essentially forgives airlines for any and all mistakes.

Curiously, GoAir has been having a very erratic year. SpiceJet’s complaints peaked with its cancellations. AirAsia India began its operations horribly, got its act together, but again seems to have declined somewhat.

Domestic one year performance of Indian carriers - June 2014 to May 2015 - Passenger complaints
Domestic one year performance of Indian carriers – June 2014 to May 2015 – Passenger complaints

Passengers carried

The year shows the role of the summer holidays which occur from May to June in the south and May to July in the north of the country. Similarly traffic peaks during the Dussera and Diwali holidays, as well as in December when there is significant expat and overseas Indian movement.

Domestic one year performance of Indian carriers - June 2014 to May 2015 - Total passengers carried
Domestic one year performance of Indian carriers – June 2014 to May 2015 – Total passengers carried

Market share

A year ago both SpiceJet and GoAir were sitting pretty. Then came the financial implosion of SpiceJet and its market share collapsed. GoAir faced a leadership crisis and it too saw market share erosion. After a brief dalliance with other airlines, passengers returned back to the familiar arms of IndiGo giving the airline a whopping 39% of market share. The year also saw a resurgent Jet Airways group clawing back market share, especially in the full service segment from national carrier Air India.

Alarm bells must be ringing in both Kuala Lumpur and Bangalore that AirAsia India holds a miserly one per cent of market share after close to one full year of operations. India is proving a tough nut to crack for one of the largest low cost airlines in the world.

Domestic one year performance of Indian carriers - June 2014 to May 2015 - Market share
Domestic one year performance of Indian carriers – June 2014 to May 2015 – Market share

Passenger load factors

Indian airlines are keeping their planes filled using all types of techniques. Despite its financial troubles, SpiceJet has been above 80% passenger load factors (PLF) for the last 12 months. IndiGo and GoAir which lagged in the 70’s 12 months ago, powered up as SpiceJet’s financial troubles hit. AirAsia India remaining in the 70’s would most definitely be a cause for concern at the airline. Vistara is showing healthy growth as its operations pick-up. Jet Airways group started slow, powered up in the winter and summer holidays but has strangely slowed down again.

Domestic one year performance of Indian carriers - June 2014 to May 2015 - Passenger load factors
Domestic one year performance of Indian carriers – June 2014 to May 2015 – Passenger load factors

Your comments and thoughts

Bangalore Aviation has the honour of having many aviation enthusiasts, and knowledgeable readers. Do share your thoughts on your opinions and analysis on the performance numbers.

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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