The month of May was a turbulent one for the Indian aviation sector as Go First started off by cancelling flights and then suddenly filed for voluntary insolvency. As SpiceJet and IndiGo among others tried to fill the gap left by the airline, they were either hit by an insolvency plea or the same engine shortage that forced Go First out of the market.
But despite these headwinds triggering a surge in airfare, Indian flyers stuck to their summer holiday plans and domestic air traffic went up by 36 per cent.
Holiday spirit defied summertime stress
The rise in demand on a year on year basis, was also supported by a 2.5 per cent increase between April and May, as passenger traffic surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
Domestic airlines carried 1.32 crore passengers in May 2023, which is a significant uptick compared to 1.22 crore in 2019.
IndiGo benefited from Go First's departure, as its market share surged to 61.3 per cent during the month of May.
Opportunity in crisis
It was a long way ahead of the second largest airline Air India, which clinched a 9.4 per cent market share, despite mergers and major expansion plans afoot.
At the same time Go First's decline gave Air India the right opportunity to reverse a loss in market share from 9.2 per cent in January to 8.6 per cent in April 2023.
Vistara, which is yet to be merged with Air India, kept going strong with a 9 per cent market share, while SpiceJet with its pay hikes amidst legal tussles with lessors remained fifth largest, right behind AirAsia.