The country's largest low-cost carrier Indigo has displaced state-owned Air India from the No 3 spot in terms of market share in the domestic market in November, according to air traffic data released by the Directorate General of Civil aviation (DGCA).
IndiGo now enjoys a 17.3 per cent share in the domestic market as against 17.1 per cent of state-owned Air India. In November, the budget carrier flew 8.43 lakh passengers as against 8.36 lakh air travelers flown by the full-service Air India.
The airline operates 207 daily flights to 22 destinations with its fleet of 31 Airbus A320 aircraft. These include, apart from all the metros, cities and smaller towns such as Agartala, Panaji, Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Patna, Pune, Srinagar and Vadodara.
"It's on expected line. IndiGo has expanded very fast and has maintained very high fleet utilisation level. Their flight occupancy is the highest in the industry. We expect them to be No 2 by early 2011," Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) India head Kapil Kaul said.
The domestic air traffic of scheduled domestic carriers rose 25.1 per cent to 48.75 lakh during November 2010 as against 38.98 lakh in the corresponding month last year. The domestic air traffic was up 19 per cent at 468.09 lakh during January-November of 2010 as against 393.53 lakh during the same period in the previous year.
In the wake of the economic slowdown, the air traffic market has shifted towards low-cost air travel and airlines such as Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines have been quick to move their capacity to no-frill arms JetKonnect and Kingfisher Red. With air traffic having stabilised over the past one year, most of the carriers, especially the low-cost airlines, are expanding.