In a surprising turn of events, Akasa Air, India’s newest airline, outshone market leader IndiGo in November, boasting the highest punctuality rate.
According to the aviation regulator, Akasa Air achieved an impressive on-time performance of 78.2 per cent at the four major metro airports – New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.
This marked a significant milestone for the fledgling airline, surpassing IndiGo and Vistara, who secured the second and third positions, respectively, with AIX Connect trailing in fourth place.
Minister Scindia Urges Improved Punctuality
Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia recently urged airlines to enhance their on-time performance. Notably, Akasa Air’s remarkable punctuality has positioned it as a frontrunner in the competitive Indian aviation landscape.
Domestic Air Traffic Dips Below Pre-Pandemic Levels
Despite the commendable performance of Akasa Air, the overall scenario for the domestic aviation sector presents a mixed picture. Domestic air traffic, which witnessed a 9 per cent year-on-year increase to 12.7 million passengers, fell below pre-pandemic levels for the first time this year in November.
Heavy rainfall in the month contributed to flight delays, resulting in a 4-7 per cent drop in punctuality compared to October.
Year-End Review: Market Share and Passenger Trends
In November, IndiGo experienced a slight contraction in its market share, dropping to 61.8 per cent from 62.6 per cent in October. Air India retained its position as the second-largest carrier, with a market share of 10.5 per cent, while Vistara maintained its third position, holding 9.4 per cent of the market.
AIX Connect, previously AirAsia India and now part of the Tata Group, secured the fourth spot with a 6.6 per cent market share. With a 6.2 per cent market share, SpiceJet witnessed a decline from its peak of 10.7 per cent in February 2022.
Akasa Air, despite facing challenges with pilot shortages and grounded aircraft, maintained its position behind SpiceJet. The airline carried 537,000 passengers in November, holding a steady market share of 4.2 per cent.
Passenger Load Factors and Operational Insights
The passenger load factors for major airlines in November were as follows: SpiceJet (90.8 per cent), Vistara (89.4 per cent), IndiGo (85.6 per cent), Air India (84.8 per cent), and AIX Connect (85.3 per cent). Akasa Air’s load factor increased to 89.2 per cent from 86.6 per cent in October, marking a positive trend for the relatively new entrant.
Customer Complaints and Operational Challenges
In November, 601 passenger complaints were registered, with a complaint rate of about 0.47 per 10,000 passengers. Airlines denied boarding to 1,231 passengers, while flight cancellations affected 39,486 passengers, and 269,011 passengers faced delays.
As the aviation sector navigates operational challenges, airlines are pressed to optimize punctuality and address customer concerns to ensure a seamless travel experience for passengers in the upcoming months.