Top 3 Airlines of India According to Passengers Flown
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Top 3 Airlines of India According to Passengers Flown

DALLAS — The Asia-Pacific region is anticipated to have one of the fastest-growing markets. Despite COVID-19 hitting our global aviation industry hard, post-pandemic air travel, and especially India’s, has seen a rise in traffic.

We’ll look at the top three airlines in India in terms of passengers flown in 2022. In addition to this, we will cover their On-Time Performance (OTP) numbers, market share, passenger complaints, and load factors. The data used comes from the country’s Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The Indian aviation market has huge potential and opportunities for all airlines. Further, new airlines like Akasa Air (QP) are expanding their networks rapidly, having added 16 aircraft and flown to more than 14 destinations in just six months.

Despite having less than 1% of the market share, QP can pose a serious challenge to existing players.

Go Air Airlines
Go First (Earlier known as Go Air). Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

3. Go First — 10.92 Million Pax


Go First (G8) is ranked third on the list, having carried over 10,920,000 passengers. close to beating its competitors, TATA Air India (AI) and Spicejet (SG), which have also flown 10.77 million and 10.67 million passengers, respectively.

The Low-Cost Carrier (LCC), formerly known as Go Air, was founded 17 years ago and has headquarters in Mumbai, India. The airline operates a fleet of Airbus A320 planes and flies to 39 destinations, both domestically and internationally.

On-Time Performance (OTP) for domestic airlines has been computed for four metro airports: Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. With 49.7%, G8 has the lowest average in comparison to other Indian carriers.

Passenger load factors, i.e., metrics used in the airline industry, measure the percentage of available seating capacity that has been filled with passengers. Despite poor OTP, with 82.7% of Load Factor, the airline outperformed other domestic carriers. In addition, the airline achieved more than 80% of the monthly weighted load factors nine times.

With 10.92 million passengers, G8 has a market share of 8.8%, marginally beating AI and SG, which are at 8.7%. Despite carrying more than 10 million passengers, the airline only received 4 complaints per 10,000 passengers, certainly the lowest of any of its Indian competitors.

Vistara Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways

2. TATA- SIA Vistara Airlines, 11.35 Million Pax


The second position is won by Vistara (UK), India’s Full Service Carrier (FSC), and a joint venture of Tata Sons Private Limited and Singapore Airlines Limited (SIA). The runner-up carried more than 11,359,000 passengers last year.

Vistara, which is registered as TATA SIA Airlines Limited, was founded in 2013 and has headquarters in Gurgaon, Haryana. It primarily operates from Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in Delhi.

The airline recently completed 8 years after commencing operations for the first time on January 9, 2015. It has a mixed fleet of Airbus A320 family jets, Boeing 737s, and 787 Dreamliners. As of December 2022, the airline connects India in and out to 46 destinations.

With 81.5% of OTP in four metro cities, UK ranks second among other Indian carriers. At Delhi and Hyderabad airports, the airline has close to 86% of OTP, which is remarkable.

The airline has 84.12% of the average passenger load factor. With the exception of January 2022, the airline has reported more than 80% load factor each and every month.

By carrying more than 11.35 million passengers, it has achieved a market share of 9.2%. It has flown more than one million passengers four times in the last year. Vistara only received 6 complaints per 10k Passengers and paid 1.2 million Indian Rupees in Facilities & Compensation.

According to SIA’s press release, TATA Group and Singapore Airlines are looking to merge UK with AI by 2024. Tata Group and Singapore Airlines (SQ) have agreed to a deal in which SQ will invest an additional Rs20.59bn (US$ 250m), giving it a 25.1% stake in the combined carriers.

Vistara also reported its first-ever net profit today for the quarter ending December 2022. The full-service carrier broke even for the first time since its inception in 2015, crossing the US$1bn revenue mark and remaining profitable in terms of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

Vistara reported that it expanded its international network by more than 180 percent in 2022, adding seven routes and three new destinations — Muscat, Jeddah, and Abu Dhabi. The airline announced that it has increased its domestic network by more than 50% by adding six new routes and two new destinations — Coimbatore and Jaipur.

IndiGo Airlines
IndiGo Airlines. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

1. IndiGo Airlines, 69.09 Million Pax


You might be surprised to learn about the significant difference between the top two airlines. IndiGo Airlines (6E), another Indian LCC, carried more than 69,093,000 passengers in 2022.

IndiGo was founded by the former CEO of US Airways Group, Rakesh Gangwal, and Indian entrepreneur Rahul Bhatia. Interglobe Aviation Limited, operating as Indigo, was founded 18 years ago and is headquartered in Gurgaon, Haryana.

The airline is successful because it has been built on three pillars: 1) offering low fares, 2) being on time, and 3) delivering a courteous and hassle-free experience. 6E has proved its point by performing well since starting operations in 2006. Indigo is one of the largest operators of the Airbus A320 Family aircraft fleet. It serves its customers well by operating in more than 100 destinations in India and abroad.

Indigo also topped the OTP list with 88.6% at four metro airports. Above all, it has an OTP of more than 85% at all four airports. Due to its punctuality, the airline has won many awards on the global stage.

The largest Indian carrier has 80.5% of the average passenger load factor. Despite having thousands of daily flights, achieving this milestone can be seen as a miracle. It reported more than a half-dozen times when load factors were above 80%.

With close to 70 million passengers served, 6E has the largest piece of the pie and has achieved a whopping 56% of the Indian market. It received 63 complaints per 10k passengers, which is 2.5 times less than Air India, which got a maximum of 164 complaints per 10k passengers.

It is clear that 6E is untouchable in the Indian aviation market, with a share of more than 50%. The other domestic airlines together own less than what 6E alone holds.

ACA B38M at YVR | Boeing 737-8 MAX. Photo: Michal Mendyk/Airways

Overall Stats


If we glaze over the general statistics, Indian domestic carriers served 123.24 million passengers in 2022. The total number of passengers carried in 2022 is 47% higher than in 2021, when they had slightly less than 84 million passengers. Also, it saw month-over-month growth of 13.7%. DGCA publishes monthly statistics on its official website and daily flight-related and other Important stats at the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) site.

By catching sight of overall statistics, we can predict the tremendous growth and opportunities in the Indian aviation industry. This year it can break more records as it can mark Jet Airways’ (9W) comeback.

The Indian aviation industry is still far from reaching the 1,000 aircraft mark. The numbers are 200 short of the American Airlines (AA) fleet, which has more than 900 aircraft in its gigantic fleet. With an increase in airport infrastructure and connectivity, the numbers are expected to grow rapidly. With the inclusion of two new airlines, QP in August 2022 and IndiaOne Air (I7) in November 2022, we can expect more fierce competition among Indian carriers.

Tata’s plan to merge four of its airlines under one flag might benefit them and help them better compete with 6E. If we combine the market share of airlines operated by TATA Group, it stands at close to 25%, and the company expects it to grow to 30% by 2027.

With Rapid expansion by the TATA group and its partners, the rise of the youngest QP, and the possible Comeback of 9W, we are going to see a paradigm shift in Indian skies.

Do you believe that 6E’s dominance will be overcome by the TATA group of airlines? Do let us know by commenting on our social media channels.


Featured image: Alberto Cucini/Airways

author
Aircraft maintenance engineering graduate and Aviation enthusiast with more than four years of experience in running a successful aviation startup.

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