Indian airlines saw another month of a 20%+ YoY growth as 523.55 lakh passengers flew between January to August 2015 compared to 433.24 in the same period last year. The higher loads were on the back of higher capacity and lower fares as compared to last year. However the numbers of passengers were marginally lower than July 2015.
Spicejet led with 92.1% load factor as compared to 82.5% which it had recorded last August. This is the fourth consecutive month of 90% load factor for the airline which has changed its revenue management tactics over the last year or so and has come up with innovative pricing offers like hand baggage only fares. Except Go Air and Air Asia, every carrier saw an increase in Load Factors on a year on year basis with Air Costa seeing the highest jump of 11.5%.
Vistara continued to be at the lower end of the spectrum in Load Factor charts at 62.9%, marginally better than the previous month. Air Asia recorded a load factor of 72.1%, its second lowest in 2015. It was a month of lowest Load factors of the year so far for IndiGo and Go Air who recorded 76.8% and 75.6% respectively.
Air India, Jet Airways, Vistara and Air Pegasus saw an increase in passengers carried over July while all other airlines saw a decrease in numbers. By passengers flown, around 59% passengers opted for Low Cost Carriers while the rest 41% opted for Full Service Carriers.
The changes were visible in Market Share as well where IndiGo continues to the market leader with 35.3% but with a third consecutive month of drop in market share. The airline has lost 3.6% share from May when it peaked at 38.9% prompting some predictions from few analysts and agencies. However both IndiGo and Jet Airways have gained 2.7% over August 2014. As expected Go Air lost 1.9% due to lower utilization on account of planned cancellations. Spicejet has stabilized around 12.3% though it continues to be lower than last year on account of lesser number of aircraft. Spicejet should see another climb to around 15% before it stabilizes there, as it is expected to induct some aircraft around mid-October or early November.
Latest entrant TruJet cornered a 0.3% market share, a little more than Air Pegasus which has been cancelling flights lately, suspected due to a combination of poor loads and crew shortage. Both these carriers operate with 2 ATR72 aircraft and are based in Hyderabad and Bengaluru respectively.
On Time Performance
IndiGo is back as chart topper in On Time Performance with 90.6% flights on time at metro airports, the best amongst pan-India operators. The chart is led by Vistara which recorded 95.1% flights on time. Spicejet saw a remarkable improvement and is now at 77.3%. The number is likely to go up from here post October. Air India recorded the lowest performance with 76.1% flights being on-time, which is still a better performance as compared to its performance in early months of 2015.
The loads would see flattish growth in September before the industry sees another round of higher load factors from October to November on the back of long weekends and festive season, followed by holidays and peak month of December.
The market share may not see a lot of shift over August while Load Factors also would continue to be in similar ranges. It would be interesting to see if Spicejet manages another month of 90% Load factors and how much improvement can Vistara drive in its load factors.