As the Indian air domestic market continues to rebound strongly amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Northern India’s second busiest international airport, Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport, Amritsar, earlier last week marked the commencement of operations by the Indian Ultra-Low-Cost carrier (ULCC), Go First, earlier know as Go Air, at the airport.
While the Go First has now become the 6th major Indian carrier to operate out of Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport, Amritsar, the arrival of the airline, yet also brings more competition for the already well-established carriers on the markets the airline will be serving, including, Amritsar-Delhi and Amritsar-Mumbai markets.
Amritsar’s High Potential Market
Amritsar is the religious and tourism capital of the state of Punjab. Being home to Sikh’s most spiritual place, Sri Harmandir Sahib, and a number of historical places including, Jallianwala Bagh, etc. it is one of the most visited cities in the World.
Every year, millions of people from India and across the globe visit the holy city of Amritsar for various purposes, including, Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) and tourism. The city also being developed as an IT hub, offers a large number of domestic as well as international business, trade and other opportunities.
Who’s Leading The Market?
India’s largest carrier, IndiGo, along with leading the domestic air market of India, the airline was also leading the overall domestic market share of Amritsar with over 47% of the market, but with Go First straightaway making its large presence in Amritsar and capturing the market share of over 27%, IndiGo’s market share is now down to over 35%.
The Indian ULCC, Go First, entered the competitive Amritsar-Delhi market by directly deploying similar capacity as the IndiGo. A total of 5 major Indian carrier’s now competes in this market, including, Air India, Vistara and SpiceJet.
In a significant manner, the airline become the capacity leader in the Amritsar-Mumbai market, competing direct to direct with IndiGo and Air India, while also breaking the monopoly of IndiGo in the Amritsar-Srinagar market.
The Indian Low-Cost Carrier, SpiceJet is now at the 3rd position in the domestic market share of Amritsar with over 17%, followed by Air India with 12% and Vistara with just about 9%.
Fight For The Market Share Begins
While it has just been over a week, since Go First launched its services from Amritsar, according to the latest schedule available on IndiGo’s website, the airline would now be launching its second daily service on the Amritsar-Mumbai sector from December 1st 2021, along with launching non-stop flights between Amritsar and Pune on the same day.
If IndiGo really launches these services, the airline would again attain the overall domestic market share of over 40% of Amritsar, which would be followed by Go First with 25%, SpiceJet with 16%, Air India with 11% and Vistara with 8%.
Competing with IndiGo has just been not an easy task for many Indian carriers. While the domestic potential of Amritsar has continued to be ignored over the years even by the IndiGo, it would be interesting to see how Go First with sudden entry in Amritsar, would plan to capture the market share and expand its domestic as well as international network from Amritsar in the near future.
A Look At The International Market
The international catchment area of Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport, Amritsar is not just confined to the state of Punjab, but also the neighboring states including, Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, which potentially makes the airport to serve over 50 million people.
Since the past few years, Amritsar’s top international market has been the United Arab Emirates, with over 3,20,000 passengers travelling direct between Amritsar and UAE in the year 2019. Currently, all the 4 major Indian carrier’s, including, Air India, Air India Express, IndiGo and SpiceJet are operating their services between Amritsar and UAE, with all experiencing great Passenger Load Factor(s) (PLF) on the routes to Dubai and Sharjah.
IndiGo and Air India Express are currently the capacity leaders of Amritsar’s UAE market, with over 37% each, followed by SpiceJet with 15% and Air India with 11%.
As this market continues to rebound and develop simultaneously, the UAE could be a potential market for Go First from Amritsar in the near future, particularly the Amritsar-Abu Dhabi route as currently there is no competition on the route as compared with Dubai and Sharjah.
Apart from UAE, while Amritsar undoubtedly has great demand for North American and European destinations such as Toronto, Vancouver, London, Rome, etc, in the future as Go First develops its fleet, the airline could potentially also serve the Amritsar’s European market, including, Rome, Milan, Frankfurt, etc, which the SpiceJet and IndiGo currently might be looking at.
About The Author
Ravreet Singh is a young 17-year old blogger who has an avid interest in aviation. His main focus on aviation is connectivity of Amritsar, Punjab with the World. He is the youngest team member of FlyAmritsar Initiative, a public campaign for more direct flights to/from Amritsar.