Time will tell whether or not many of these lines survive, but any airline growing is a positive indication in these difficult circumstances and a hint that travel is making a comeback.
SpiceJet, India’s second-largest airline by domestic market share, announced that it is growing once more. On July 8, the airline announced the gradual introduction of 42 additional flights.
Since the resumption of airline operations following the shutdown, India’s civil aviation space has been highly controlled, with varied rules at the state level in addition to a capacity cap at the national level. Fares continue to be capped at both the floor and ceiling prices.
While all of this is completely lawful under the different laws of the nation, it falls outside of the “free market” economic ideas. While other airlines are growing and resuming flights, SpiceJet appears to be the only one to do so on such a significant scale. IndiGo, a competitor, has reintroduced flights without the fanfare that SpiceJet had.
The majority of the lines revealed on Thursday were already operating or were announced before COVID-19’s second wave. As the country fought a fatal second wave of COVID-19 infections in May, the airline drastically reduced its schedule.
The significant drop meant that the airline was operating much fewer flights than the authorized 50 percent limit, and thus lost market share to Air India. SpiceJet, on the other hand, remains to be the second-largest airline in terms of passengers carried in 2021, but by just a lakh over Air India.
In its current growth, it appears that the airline has chosen to pick and choose its flights, launching a combination of monopolistic routes, resuming flights on sectors where there is demand for leisure travel, and resuming all flights at Gwalior – Jyotiraditya Scindia’s constituency till 2019. On July 1, Scindia was named Minister of Civil Aviation.
The distinguishing features
It’s been challenging to compete with IndiGo in the past. IndiGo has been the capacity leader on most routes in a market where capacity and market share follow one other! In several cases, Spicejet has been forced to withdraw from sectors due to IndiGo’s lower fares or superior network.
Since then, the airline has sought to set itself apart by flying on specialized routes or under the auspices of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN ( Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik). Spicejet owns four stations and has a monopoly on them.
SpiceJet is focusing on a few locations in its network, one of which being Surat. For the first time, Surat will have flights to Jabalpur and Pune, as well as flights to Patna, Jaipur, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad.
This enhances its position in Jabalpur and serves as a disincentive to competitors. IndiGo had a track record of not abandoning any of the stations it established since its inception in 2006.