OAG’s on-time performance data for February 2015 at Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) can be seen as a microcosm of Indian aviation. Domestic air travel is booming with the data showing an increase in domestic flights of 15% year-over-year. Internationally the growing importance of UAE as a trading partner is translated into a 60% increase in frequencies.
The overall number of flights at BLR rose 12% with much of the increase due to new air services operated by low cost carriers. While on-time performance is down slightly compared to a year earlier, it’s a credible 80% and reflects both the pressure of handling more flights and the focus on on-time performance of the low cost market segment. In this instance, it’s IndiGo and Air Costa, a regional Indian airline which only commenced operations in October 2013, which are driving the growth. The low cost carrier share of frequencies grew by 25% between February 2014 and February 2015 while the legacy carrier share declined by 1%. Low cost carriers accounted for over half – 56% - of all flights at BLR in February.
While the exact numbers may differ, the direction of travel matches that of India. A rising middle class, new confidence in the economy, and enterprising new entrant airlines mean that low cost carriers now account for half of all flights to, from and within India.