Nov 012012
 

Once, there was the time of pre-liberalisation, when India’s domestic sector was ruled by a single airline, Indian Airlines. This Airlines ruled the market for decades at their own terms and conditions. Then come the golden era of domestic travel. Indian economy got liberalised in the beginning of 1990s and globalisation gives a new hope to the market.

In 1993, two airlines Jet Airways and Air Sahara began its operations in the domestic sector of India. These three airlines with some small regional airlines continued to enjoy the Indian sky till 2003. Then in 2003 came the Air Deccan and it introduced the concept of low-cost carriers in India and this concept took Indian Aviation boom on its new high. With the entry of Kingfisher Airlines, Go Air, Spice Jet and Indigo Airlines in the coming years, Indian sky was heading towards an incredible growth path. These domestic airlines entered in the market at the time, when the ambitions of common man was taking a new shape in India.

As India was marching ahead with the world economies and income of an average Indian was rising day by day, the aviation sector played its role very well in the story of rising India. The dream of flying became a reality for a common man and the flight operations only grew with every passing year. This incredible growth of airlines industry in India revolves around the amazing performances of domestic airlines. My present post is an attempt to analyse the effect of domestic airlines on Aviation Industry in India:

1. More choices to the passengers: When Indian Airlines was the only available option to the passengers, they were helpless regarding the choices. Without any other choices in domestic sector, travelers were bound to travel on Indian Airlines irrespective of fare, time and services. But now, due to the presence of so many players in the market, customers have a lot of choices in their kitty. Now they are free to fly on their own conditions in terms of price, time and in-flight services. If a person does not want to buy a fare from full service carrier like Air India, he can choose a low cost airlines like Indigo. If a person does not like the in-flight services of Indigo, he has a option to choose GoAir. If the timings of Go Air seems inconvenient, a person may get a convenient timings on SpiceJet flights. These options provide more flexibility to the customers in terms of price, timings and other services.

2. More Connectivity, even to smaller cities: Sometimes ago, a flight between Ludhiana and Delhi or from Imphal to Delhi was a distant dream in India. But now as the competition is growing in the market with each passing day, every airline is trying to explore the new and untapped destinations. They are exploring new markets to expand their presence. These leads them to fly to even tier-2 and tier-3 cities of India. Ultimately, air travelers from small cities are benefited by this race of market expansion.

Aerobridge Connected to An Aircraft

Domestic Flights at Guawahati Airport

3. Cheaper Air Tickets: As the domestic airlines are increasing their fleets to meet the increasing demand, competitions are also increasing in the market. Indian aviation sector is full of domestic airlines now and everybody wants to attract as many passengers as possible. Due to this highly competitive environment, airlines are forced to keep their fare competitive with another one in the market. These all leads to the availability of Cheaper Air Tickets to the customers. Sometimes, these domestic low-cost airlines offer fares as low as the First Class and Second Class fares of Rajdhani Express Trains. This helps them to target the passengers of this segment on the Indian Railways network. Ultimately, only a traveler enjoys this price war.A simple search of cheaper air tickets between two cities at the ticket booking websites results in to the multiple combination of prices and timings to offer a wide range of flexibility. A person who always saw an aircraft from his roof and dreamt about them, is able to fulfill his dream of flying now.

Crowd in The Morning Hours at Delhi Airport T1D

Boom in The Aviation Market: Crowd in The Morning Hours at Delhi Airport T1D

4.Improved Customer Relations: Earlier, when technology was not so advance and and the facilities like SMS, internet and web-check in were not available, every airline had a tough time to communicate with their customers in case of any need. As the technology advances, domestic airlines invested heavily to synchronize their customer services with the technology. Customers now enjoy the facilities of SMS in case of delay, web check-in to avoid the queues at the counters and special treatments in case of flight cancellations. On-time performance now becomes a major issue for the airlines to improve the customer satisfaction. After all, these factors only endears them to an airline.

5. Excellent Flight Services: Earlier, when there was less competition in the market, airlines run the things on their own terms. Flight delays were frequent, passengers had to wait for hours at the check-in counters and in the security areas, and nobody cared about them. But when competition grew in the market and many players entered, those customers became the god for the airlines. To increase their customer base, every airlines tried to build a good brand image and healthy reputation among the travelers. The trend is still going on and this forced all airlines to improve their flight services. Now, at any reputed airlines counter, a passenger can at least expect a big smile to welcome and a helping hand in the need. Low-cost carrier, like Kingfisher Red, even treated their customers with the complimentary meal on board in its old good days. To offer an excellent in-flight services and to restore its old glory, full service carrier Air India introduced its brand new B-787 Dreamliners aircraft on the domestic route in India. Ultimately, the passengers get benefited by these moves.

6. Realizing an Indian’s dream of foreign tourism: Some years ago, going abroad was a distant dream for Indian Middle Class. But, with the entry of low-cost carriers, passengers are having the benefit of cheaper air tickets. Now, the Low Cost domestic airlines like Indigo and Spice Jet are also flying to the international destinations. These airlines are having the strong presence in the Indian Domestic Market and now they are re-writing a new history with their larger customer base in domestic market. With their cheaper fares in comparison to full service carriers, a middle class person can also plan to spend few days on a foreign tour.

Turbulence in Sky: India’s domestic aviation sector is a tough place to be in at present. Rising crude oil prices are increasing the operating cost of the airlines. Some other charges like User Development Fee in Delhi, levied by the airport operator, are also responsible for the increasing cost of operations. In the turbulent time of Indian Sky, when Kingfisher Airlines is bleeding heavily and finally regulator suspended its license, Air India is lying under the pile of increasing debt and all other airlines (exceptions are always there) have a tough time in their winter schedule due to lower demand in the market, there is a strong hope that rising incomes of India’s strong middle class will keep the future of Indian Aviation Sector alive and bright.

  17 Responses to “Domestic Airlines Affecting Aviation Industry”

  1. Hi I am first time traveling from pune to Bangalore. Last year I gone through hip replacement surgery. Is there any problem while security cheking as artificial part inside a body

  2. Hi, I need to travel from chennai to tuticorin, back to chennai and then to bangalore in month end (spicejet seems to be the cheapest for tuticorin and chennai to bangalore Air pegasus – how is this airline?). I would be 7-8 weeks pregnant at that time. I am in desperate need of some advice and came across this very helpful site. Worried about my pregnancy. My questions are:
    1. This will be my first air travel ever. Can I make it alone? Taking my husband along for all the three trips would burn a hole in our pockets.
    2. Are the metal detectors safe for pregnant women? If I don’t want to go thorough those (very worried) are there any other options, like frisking by lady security?
    3. Also the X-ray machine, if I am alone how do I get my bag checked through the machine without getting near it?
    4. I am travelling for an important marriage. Can I carry gold Jewels in cabin bag? Is there any limit? I don’t have any bills.
    5. What is the baggage weight limit allowed for cabin and check-in? Also, say if the total weight allowed is 5 kgs per person, If me and my husband are travelling can we carry a single bag with 10 kgs weight?
    6. Do I need to carry any doctor’s letter to prove my pregnancy so that I need not go though any security machines?
    7. Do prices increase as we near the travel date? Do I need to book it asap or can I wait till one week before travel date?
    Lots of questions, hope I will get help. Thanks a lot in advance.

    • Hi, I am not the expert on this topic. However, I tried to answer your questions as per my knowledge. Hope it will help you to plan your travel.

      1. This will be my first air travel ever. Can I make it alone? Taking my husband along for all the three trips would burn a hole in our pockets.
      Yes, you can make it alone. There is no harm. You can ask for the assistance of the airlines’ staff at the airport.

      2. Are the metal detectors safe for pregnant women? If I don’t want to go thorough those (very worried) are there any other options, like frisking by lady security?
      In the capacity of general public, you can’t avoid the metal detectors or any type of airport security check. I am not the expert in this field. But, as per my knowledge, metal detectors are perfectly safe for pregnant women also. They emit very low-frequency electromagnetic field and doesn’t create any problem.

      3. Also the X-ray machine, if I am alone how do I get my bag checked through the machine without getting near it?
      You can ask any nearby security personnel or airlines staff to assist you with this. Many are available there to assist you. You can also ask for assistance at the check-in desk itself. Then, an airline staff will accompany you till you board the plane.

      4. I am travelling for an important marriage. Can I carry gold Jewels in cabin bag? Is there any limit? I don’t have any bills.
      Earlier, there was no limit for carrying gold on a domestic flight. You can still carry the huge quantity on a domestic flight, but if its weight exceeds over 1 kg, you have to justify its presence in your baggage. You can carry them in your cabin baggage.

      5. What is the baggage weight limit allowed for cabin and check-in? Also, say if the total weight allowed is 5 kgs per person, If me and my husband are travelling can we carry a single bag with 10 kgs weight?
      No, for two passengers, you have to carry two bags. This weight limit vary from airline to airline, but normally 7 kgs are allowed as a cabin baggage and 15 kgs as a checked-in baggage.

      6. Do I need to carry any doctor’s letter to prove my pregnancy so that I need not go though any security machines?
      You have to pass through the security checks. But, you can carry the doctor’s letter to get some extra care from the airline.

      7. Do prices increase as we near the travel date? Do I need to book it asap or can I wait till one week before travel date?
      Yes, it mostly tends to increase as you near the travel date. If prices are within your expected range these days, then book it now.

      Also, if you search for the air travel during pregnancy, you can find many articles on this topic. Some of them suggested that it is better to fly in the second trimester (weeks 14 to 27 ) during pregnancy, because by this time the risk of morning sickness and miscarriage is likely to have subsidised. However, almost all suggests that there is no harm in air travel during pregnancy for women who have healthy pregnancies. Please take the advice of your doctor on this matter.

      • Thanks a lot for the detailed reply… It’s been a big relief for me at this time… and yes, my doctor has given a go ahead for the travel… she told me to book after the first scan, but I think it’ll be too late to book at that time with only 5 days gap…

        Just a couple more clarifications…

        1. I thought instead of going through the metal detector I can opt for a pat down check by a lady officer…? Is it not possible? Also there are only two security checks per travel right? the metal detector and the x-ray for bags… Do we have more checks apart from these at any point?

        2. I would want to carry my make-up items like foundation, compact, nail polish/remover, comb, bangles/accessories, livon, hair dryer etc… Guess these are not allowed in cabin bag… Do I need to take a different ticket which allows check-in bag? Spicejet shows three category of tickets… “hand luggage only fare” means am I not allowed to carry cabin or check-in baggage?

        I will be carrying just my early pregnancy scan report with me…

        • Hi, Hand-baggage only fare allow one handbag up-to 7 kg per passenger, plus a standard sized shoulder laptop bag or ladies purse. And, if you later decide to check-in luggage, a fee of Rs.500 for upto 10kg, and Rs.750 for upto 15kg, will be payable at the airport during check-in.
          Now coming to your questions,

          1. I thought instead of going through the metal detector I can opt for a pat down check by a lady officer…? Is it not possible? Also there are only two security checks per travel right? the metal detector and the x-ray for bags… Do we have more checks apart from these at any point?
          No idea, whether they will allow that or not. As I said, metal detectors are perfectly safe, so they may not allow you to avoid that procedure. I mean, I am not sure on this. Only these checks are there, no extra checks.

          2. I would want to carry my make-up items like foundation, compact, nail polish/remover, comb, bangles/accessories, livon, hair dryer etc… Guess these are not allowed in cabin bag… Do I need to take a different ticket which allows check-in bag?
          Any sharp object like knife, blades, sometimes scissor also, are not allowed in the cabin baggage. So, check if these items contain any sharp object. If not, then you can carry them easily. Otherwise, you have to check-in your baggage. If most of them are liquid in the tubes, don’t worry about that. You can carry them easily, unless the quantity is too much.

  3. Sir i have no cabin luggage can i have chek in luggage upto 22 kgs ie 15 kgs check in & 7 kgs cabin luggage in indigo flight from trivandrum to guwahati via bangalore

  4. Really appreciate this post.. Domestic Airlines Affecting Aviation Industry..

  5. India’s domestic aviation sector is a tough place to be in at present. there are big scope.

  6. Yes it will affect as now we have more options to go somewhere.

  7. Domestic Airlines are not giving so good services nowadays .

  8. yes ,
    Domestic Airlines Affecting Aviation Industry day by day . there is one minister in Haryana state, who become very famous in “Gitika kand”.

  9. I can agree with the content of the article. The same was telling me my friend from Delhi (and not just telling) he is visiting hungary yearly now – before he couldn’t afford this…and this is cos of the condition, the cheapest air ticket …and so… well done India – you had to open yr gates to the world!

    • Yeah IIdi, the best thing about the cheaper air tickets is that the world is open for all now..Sometimes ago, travel by air was a far dream, but now it is an important part of our routine..

  10. For sure it will affect, no question!

    • Yes these all flexibility in airlines make dream come true. Now middle group people can fulfill their dream of flying.

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