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IndiGo is India’s no. 3 airline
Published on 22 Dec. 2010 12:29 AM IST
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After its full-service peers Jet Airways and Kingfisher, Air India domestic (erstwhile Indian Airlines) has for the first time been overtaken by a low-cost carrier (LCC). Last month, IndiGo — the country’s youngest LCC — which will turn five next August, carried 8.43 lakh passengers.
According to Times report, aviation ministry figures show that AI domestic flew 8.36 lakh in November, making IndiGo India’s third-largest domestic airline in terms of market share.
Earlier this year, IndiGo on several occasions came close to AI-domestic’s passenger numbers but the gap widened between the two in past two to three months.
But November, which saw the highest-ever domestic flyer numbers for a month, saw IndiGo finally overtaking the Maharaja.
While IndiGo did not comment on the development, an AI official said: “We suffer from an image issue of being a fullservice airline without a domestic lowcost offshoot like JetLite, Jet Konnect or Kingfisher Red. People perceive us to be expensive, while our fares may be lower.”
Successive AI managements have been talking in vain for years now that the Maharaja’s international LCC, AI Express, should begin domestic operations. Jet and Kingfisher operate over 70% of their flights on their LCC versions.
IndiGo, which currently has 32 Airbus A-320s in operation (the number may go up to 34 by year-end) managed to fill its planes to near capacity last month due to the unprecedented demand that is continuing in December too.
Air India has 72 aircraft of A-320 family in its fleet, which are used for both domestic and international flights.
While there’s no firm break-up of this in terms of aircraft being used for domestic or international flights, the number, said sources, would be higher than IndiGo’s 32 desi flights. But with 91% load factors, IndiGo carries more passengers compared to AI-domestic’s occupancy of 76.9%.
Next year, IndiGo, promoted by travel industry honcho Rahul Bhatia and run by president Aditya Ghosh, is set to launch an IPO and begin international flights.
It has sought permission to fly to 15 destinations like Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

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