Disclaimer: Top 10 Lists are created keeping in mind only our opinion. Rest assured that IH Aviation and Travel is not biased whatsoever.
Indian Aviation Market is the fastest growing aviation market in the world according to International Air Transport Association. The Indian aviation industry comprises of one of the most cost-sensitive passenger demand in the world. Around the early 2000s, Indian government opened the airline industry for private carriers. Since then, Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) like Indigo and SpiceJet have turned the Indian aviation market and are now dominating it. There are only 2 Full Service Carriers (FSCs) presently in India. Other than that, all other are LCCs. Ten years ago, the FSCs market dwarfed that of LCCs by almost 2.3 times. By 2018, the LCC capacity had grown by an incredible 330%. Following the demise of Jet Airways in 2019, this gap has further widened. Let’s take a look at the Top 10 airlines in India.
TruJet is an Indian regional airline based at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad and headquartered in Hyderabad in the southern state of Telangana. It is promoted by Turbo Megha Airways Pvt. Ltd. The airline adopted the brand name ‘TruJet’ in February 2015. TruJet commenced operations on 12th July 2015 with a flight from its hub at Hyderabad to Tirupati. Currently, the airline flies to 19 destinations across India with a fleet of 5 ATR 72 aircrafts. The airline has secondary hubs in Ahmedabad and Chennai.
9. Star Air
Star Air is an Indian regional airline based at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Star Air was founded by Ghodawat Enterprises in 2017. The airline acquired its first aircraft in June 2018 and started flying in January the following year with its first flight on 25th January 2019 from Bengaluru to Hubballi. Star Air currently flies to 13 destinations across India with a fleet of 5 Embraer ERJ145LR aircrafts. It operates a secondary base at Belgaum airport.
Website: Star Air
8. Alliance Air
Alliance Air is an regional airline and a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India. It was founded in April 1996 as a subsidiary of Indian Airlines. Alliance Air operates flights to 47 destinations as of January 2021 through its hubs at Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Kolkata. It operates a fleet of 18 ATR 72-609 aircrafts. The regional airline operated its first ever international flight from Chennai to Jaffna in Srilanka on 11th November 2019. The airline mainly operates domestic routes as part of the Indian government’s Regional Connectivity Scheme.
Website: Alliance Air
7. Air India Express
Air India Express in an Indian low-cost airline and a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India. Headquartered in Kochi, Kerala, it was launched as low-cost carried in 2005 with the objective of providing convenient connectivity, to short-haul international routes, in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for the Indian expatriate community. Air India Express was Air India’s response to the growing popularity of LCCs worldwide and within the region. Air India express mainly connects Tier-II cities in India with Middle East and Singapore. It operates a fleet of 24 Boeing B737-800NG (Next Generation) aircrafts.
Website: Air India Express
6. Air Asia India
Air Asia India, headquartered in Bengaluru in Karnataka, is a joint venture between Tata Sons holding 83.67% stake in the airline and AirAsia Investment Limited (Malaysia) holding 16.33% stake. Air Asia is also the first foreign airline to set up a subsidiary in India. The airline commenced operations on 12th June 2014. Air Asia operates a a total of 200 daily flights connecting 21 destinations across India with a fleet of 30 Airbus A320-200 aircrafts and 4 Airbus A320neo aircrafts with further 16 on order. Its primary hub is Bengaluru with secondary hubs at Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
Website: Air Asia India
SpiceJet is an Indian low-cost carrier headquartered in Gurgaon, Haryana. The airline operated its first flight in May of 2005. It is the second largest market in the country by number of domestic passengers carried. SpiceJet operates to more than 55 domestic and 15 international destinations with more than 630 daily flights. It operates its hub at Delhi and Hyderabad. Its fleet consists of 118 aircrafts comprising of Boeing B737MAX, Boeing B737, De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400, a single wet-leased Airbus A330 and two wet-leased Airbus A320s. The Dash 8-400 aircrafts are based at Hyderabad. It has a further 225 aircrafts on order. SpiceXpress is the airline’s cargo arm which was launched in September 2018. Spice Shuttle is a fully owned subsidiary of SpiceJet which operates Seaplanes and several other shuttle airplane services. SpiceJet has codeshare agreements with Emirates and Gulf Air.
GoAir is an Indian low-cost carrier (Indian aviation market is dominated by low-cost carriers) based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is owned by the Indian business conglomerate Wadia group. The airline commenced operations in November 2005 with its inaugural flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. Its primary hub is at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport with secondary hubs at Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Kannur. It operated its first international flight on 11th October 2018 between Delhi and Phuket making it the 6th Indian domestic carrier to fly international. GoAir currently operates flights across 39 destinations – 29 domestic and 10 international – with a fleet of 56 Airbus A320 aircrafts.
Indigo is India’s largest passenger airline with a market share of 54.3% as of January 2021. It is a low-cost carrier headquartered in Gurugram in Haryana that started operations in August 2006. It is also the largest individual Asian low-cost carrier in terms of jet fleet size and passengers carried, and the sixth largest carrier in Asia with over 6.4 crore (64 million) passengers carried in financial year 2018-19. In December 2019, it became the first Indian airline to operate 1,500 daily flights. Its primary hub is at Delhi with secondary hubs at Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. IndiGo has a total destination count of 91 with 67 domestic destinations and 24 International. Its fleet consists of 280 aircrafts including 120 Airbus A320neo, 98 Airbus A320ceo, 37 Airbus A321neo and 25 ATR.
2. Air India
Air India, the national carrier of India, is headquartered in New Delhi. It is owned by Air India Limited, a government owned enterprise, and is the largest international carrier out of India with a 18.6% market share. The airline was founded by J. R. D. Tata as Tata airlines in 1932. In 1953, the Government of India passed the Air Corporations Act and purchased a majority stake in the carrier from Tata Sons. On 21 February 1960, it took delivery of its first Boeing 707 named ‘Gauri Shankar’ and became the first Asian airline to induct a jet aircraft in its fleet. The airline became the 27th member of Star Alliance on 11th July 2014. As of December 2019, Air India flies to 102 destinations including 57 domestic and 45 international destinations in 31 countries. Its primary hub is at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and secondary hub at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport. Air India’s focus cities are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram. Air India operates a mixed fleet of Airbus A320 family aircrafts, Boeing B787 Dreamliner, Boeing B777 and B747 aircrafts.
Website: Air India
Vistara is a joint venture of Tata Sons Private Limited and Singapore Airlines Limited (SIA), wherein Tata Sons holds 51% stake in partnership and Singapore Airlines owns 49% stake. The company is registered as TATA SIA Airlines Limited. It is a full service carrier with its headquarter in Gurgaon, Haryana. The airline started its operations on 9th January 2015, with a maiden flight from Delhi to Mumbai. Its hub is at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. The airline operated its first international flight on 6th August 2019 between Delhi and Singapore. On 29th February 2020, the airline took delivery of its first wide-body Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, becoming the first Indian airline to operate this aircraft. On 28th August 2020, the airline operated its first intercontinental flight between Delhi and London Heathrow. Vistara serves 40 destinations with over 200 flights daily operated by a fleet of 45 aircraft including 35 Airbus A320, 2 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, 2 Airbus A321neo and 6 Boeing 737-800NG aircraft.
Featured image by Vistara
If you think that I have missed any of the airlines present in India that you think should be included in the list, let me know in the comments section below.