Visualizing the Growth of India’s Domestic Airline Market
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As recently as 2016, India’s domestic airline market was smaller than that of Brazil. Today, in terms of seat capacity, it’s roughly 50% larger. As recently as 2017, Japan had a larger domestic airline market than India. This year India is roughly 25% larger.
The chart below depicts how fast India has grown since the global financial crisis of 2009, relative to two markets that for many years surpassed it in size. Note the sharp decline in all three markets during the Covid crisis. Capacity, however, is growing at a fast clip once again. This year, measured by total domestic scheduled seat capacity, using Cirium Diio, India will be the world’s third largest domestic airline market, behind the U.S. and China. The only other larger market would be Europe, if you count its internal flights as “domestic.”
This chart does exclude international flights, where India’s growth has been slower. That too could pick up, however, as a revitalized Air India expands its widebody fleet. Back in the domestic market, IndiGo has become India’s largest airline by a wide margin, with plans to grow domestic seat capacity another 19% this year. Compared to 2019, its domestic seats will be up by a third this year! It’s growing internationally too, but with narrowbody planes.
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