How IndiGo Captured The Indian Market

If you look at the Indian market today there’s a clear leader: IndiGo. The carrier has captured nearly half of the Indian market and shows no signs of slowing. But how did IndiGo become the dominant player it is today? Let’s find out!

IndiGo A320 order
IndiGo operates a fleet of A320s and ATR 72s. Photo: Airbus

Bringing the low-cost model to India

IndiGo’s success began when it became one of the first airlines to introduce the low-cost model in India. For IndiGo, this meant only operating one type of aircraft (A320s in this case), employing fewer staff, and cutting out any extras.

These measures allowed IndiGo to offer extremely low fares and undercut its rivals, thereby allowing more people to travel by air. In fact, the number of travelers has doubled in the last six years, pushing India up to the third-largest aviation market. This rise has been led by low-cost airlines such as IndiGo.

IndiGo A320
IndiGo recently ordered 300 new aircraft, including the A321XLR. Photo: Airbus

As mentioned, IndiGo operates only the A320 family of aircraft, alongside a number of ATR 72s for regionals flights. IndiGo operates 259 aircraft, consisting of 25 ATR 72s and 234 A320s, with an average age of just 5.6 years according to Planespotters.

By sticking to the A320 for the bulk of its operations, IndiGo has managed to minimize overall costs for maintenance and repair. The airline is also known to place huge plane orders to ensure a steady expansion and lower costs. All of this has allowed the airline to be extremely efficient and to maximize aircraft usage.

Creating a brand image

IndiGo also has a reputation for being a more casual airline with witty ad campaigns and subtle humor. The airline’s IATA code is 6E and its callsign IFLY, showing the airline to have a personality rather than just a company name.

The airline also spends a lot of time advertising its on-time performance. The carrier has consistently been one of the most efficient carriers, with extremely fast turnaround times and excellent punctuality. While that reputation has suffered due to rapid growth, the airline is still considered to be one of the best in the country.

IndiGo plane Getty Images
IndiGo flies to nearly as many domestic destinations as flag carrier Air India. Photo: Getty

With its massive fleet, IndiGo consistently manages to maintain high frequencies on popular routes and to expand to new cities. IndiGo is only beaten by flag carrier Air India in the number of domestic locations it serves, and only by six. Through the sheer scale of the airline, and some smart marketing, IndiGo has made itself a mainstay in Indian aviation.

Operational excellence

IndiGo has become the industry standard for operations in the last few years. The airline has an extremely fast turn around time (which you know if you’ve ever flown with them, crews enter from the back as passengers disembark the front), which allows them to ensure a high fleet efficiency.

Along with high efficiency, the airline also closely tracks its aircraft to ensure the flights are running on time, using onboard systems to communicate with ground teams. This is one of the primary reasons why IndiGo manages such a high on-time performance even with a massive fleet. The airline also aims to simplify things for customers, providing an easy-to-use website and excellent mobile app.

IndiGo A320neo
IndiGo is the country’s largest carrier. Photo: Airbus

All of these features have made IndiGo the country’s largest carrier. The airline continues to add new destinations every year and shows no signs of slowing down from its breakneck growth. A lot of the airline’s success can be attributed to the exponential growth in air travel in the last decade.

However, the airline has also led this growth, with nearly 70% of domestic travel now conducted by low-cost carriers, according to Statista. We’ll be closely watching IndiGo in the coming years to see if they can keep up this success.

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