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IndiGo among the fastest expanding airlines globally

Source : BUSINESS_STANDARD
Last Updated: Tue, Jan 01, 2013 19:30 hrs
Passengers sit in the cabin of an IndiGo Airlines aircraft as a flight attendant serves snacks after takeoff from Kolkata

Jet Airways has slipped seven places to the 46th rank, while IndiGo has emerged as one of the fastest growing airlines in the list of biggest airlines of 2012 compiled by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (Capa). The report, released yesterday, determines the top-50 airlines based on deployed capacity.

The Naresh Goyal-led Jet Airways has been reducing capacity on both domestic and international sectors. It pulled out of two long-haul sectors, Johannesburg and New York, to cut losses. The airline has not launched any new international routes in the past few months and is yet to take a call on starting flights to Munich. Its plans to start flights to Manila, too, did not take wings.

On the domestic side as well, Jet has lowered capacity on unprofitable sectors. According to its approved winter schedule, the number of flights is down from 2,905 to 2,505 a week. Jet’s (stand alone) market share, too, is under pressure with Air India and SpiceJet carrying more passengers on domestic routes in November 2012.

Last December, Jet Airways stood at 39th place amongst 50 biggest airlines. Air India is down one place to 35th place in the Capa list, dominated by US and European Airlines. Air India has stopped the loss-making Toronto flight, but has restored most of the other flights that were disrupted due to pilots strikes last year.

According to the Capa report, Jet’s capacity last month was 11 per cent lower in comparison to December 2011, while Air India's capacity declined 3.5 per cent over the same period. On the other hand, IndiGo's capacity increased 34.6 per cent and it moved to 11th rank up by three places in the list of 25 biggest low-cost airlines.

“We are making the right choices and are not concerned about the ranking,” said a senior Jet executive.

IndiGo and Indonesia's Lion Air's capacity growth is the second highest among all low-cost carriers (LCCs), only second to Spane’s Vueling Airlines, which added 40 per cent capacity last year. Following its merger with Continental Airlines, United Airlines’s capacity rose 67.3 per cent, the highest amongst all airlines.

IndiGo has been rapidly expanding adding new routes. Over the past few months, it has added 70 flights on domestic and international routes and is the largest domestic airline by market share. In the winter schedule, it has received approval for 2,447 weekly flights as against 1,879 flights in the previous year. However, the airline’s deployed capacity is not large enough to make it amongst the top 50 biggest airlines (which includes LCCs such as Southwest Airlines, RyanAir, JetBlue and LionAir).

“United Airlines, following its merger with Continental, has ended 2012 as the world’s biggest airline measured by available seat kilometres (capacity) for the current week, ahead of second placed Delta, whose capacity fell 0.3 per cent year-on-year. Emirates is the world’s third biggest airline by this measure, and could be in second place by the end of 2013, if the past year’s growth rates are maintained,” Capa said in its report. Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France take the sixth, seventh and eight positions, respectively, in the list.

"The biggest movers in the overall top 50 list include Turkish Airlines, which jumped seven places to rank 15th globally,'' the report added.

Emirates added 18 per cent capacity last year. Emirates took delivery of three wide body planes (two airbus A380 and one Boeing 777) on a single day (October 1) and in another first took deliveries of five planes (three A380s and two 777s) in December, the airline said in a press release issued on Monday. Rival airline Etihad also announced carrying 10 million passengers, which is 22 per cent more than 2011. Launch of flights to six new destinations led to 22 per cent increase in passenger numbers, the airline said. Etihad is number 28 in list of biggest airlines measured by capacity.



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