In a recent address, IndiGo CEO Pieter Elbers stressed the importance of evaluating IndiGo’s scale in comparison to international carriers rather than confining the assessment to domestic rivals. This strategic shift, Elbers believes, will play a pivotal role in elevating India’s airports to global aviation hubs.
Elbers highlighted a common tendency to closely scrutinize domestic competition and assess fare structures on local routes. He proposed, “To foster the growth of aviation hubs, we must adopt a broader perspective. We should analyze our international competitors and address why a significant majority of flights between Europe and India are operated by non-Indian carriers.”
He further emphasized, “Instead of fixating on the competition between cities like Mumbai and Guwahati, let’s direct our attention to understanding why there are so few direct flights between Delhi and Rome. This should be the focal point of our discourse.” Presently, foreign airlines dominate India’s international passenger market.
With SpiceJet facing financial challenges, Go First undergoing insolvency proceedings, and Akasa Air scaling down operations due to a pilot shortage, IndiGo and Air India now dominate the domestic passenger market, collectively commanding about 85% of the sector. Notably, IndiGo boasts a substantial 60% share on its own, raising concerns about high airfares.
Contrastingly, in the international passenger market, IndiGo’s share stands at approximately 18%, according to insights from aviation analytics firm Cirium. When questioned about competition, Elbers affirmed, “Undoubtedly, we face fierce competition. India ranks among the most competitive aviation markets globally.”
Elbers encouraged Indian carriers to fortify their networks, enhance positioning, and bolster connectivity systems. The Indian government has been actively advocating for the transformation of Indian airports, particularly Delhi, into aviation hubs akin to Dubai or Doha, offering extensive flight networks connecting destinations worldwide.
He asserted, “To emerge as global contenders, we must attain a certain scale. Rather than sizing up IndiGo or Air India against other domestic carriers, let’s also measure ourselves against leading global players. If we aim to compete with the likes of Singapore Airlines and position India as a prominent connecting hub, that should be our benchmark, beyond just domestic metrics.”
Regarding Air India’s acquisition by the Tata Group, Elbers viewed this as a natural evolution in a maturing market. Historically, as aviation markets mature, consolidation has been a prevalent trend worldwide.
Elbers underscored that when travelers abroad compare domestic ticket prices in the United States or Europe, they readily discern the vibrant competitiveness of the Indian market. He added, “Indeed, there’s substantial competition within India.”
He concluded by reiterating IndiGo’s enduring Unique Selling Proposition (USP) centered on three pillars: offering affordable fares, maintaining impeccable on-time performance, and providing hassle-free, courteous service—a commitment that has remained steadfast since the airline’s inception.
InterGlobe Aviation Limited, operating under the name IndiGo, is a prominent Indian budget airline with its headquarters situated in Gurgaon, Haryana, India. As of July 2023, it holds the title of India’s largest airline in terms of passengers served and fleet size, boasting an impressive 63.4% share of the domestic market.
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