IndiGo still India's top flier; SpiceJet pips AI to third spot

While air travel in India continues its downslide, SpiceJet overtook Air India to become the third-largest domestic carrier by market share in February, largely on the back of its 'Big Sale' scheme that offered one million air tickets at Rs2,013 apiece across the country.

SpiceJet had launched the fire sale for two days in January for travel up to April. The scheme saw a rush of buyers.

IndiGo has retained its number one position with a market share of 27.4 per cent. It was followed by Jet Airways and its budget arm JetLite at 25.4 per cent. SpiceJet garnered 20.4 per cent market share, while Air India slipped to fourth place from 20.3 per cent to 18.9 per cent, according to figures released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Saturday.

The total number of domestic fliers carried by local airlines dipped to 4.89 million, down by close to 5 per cent compared with 5.13 million passengers flown in January 2013.

"We are aware that there is a market share shift due to SpiceJet's offer in January and we don't think it is sustainable," The Times of India quoted a senior Air India executive said.

"Market share can always be bought by offering low prices. IndiGo joined SpiceJet's offer for one-and-a-half days and we didn't, so their market share remains untouched. We are fairly pleased with our February and March performance. You'll see a similar shift in favour of Jet Airways in March as they too floated a similar discount scheme," the Air India executive added.