The first official confirmation that SpiceJet’s unending woes were aiding rival carriers came on Thursday when aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), released the passenger data for November. It showed a steep decline in the airline’s domestic market share with rivals gaining heavily.
While domestic air traffic rose 14.35% in November over the corresponding period last year, SpiceJet’s market share fell to 14.9% in November from 17.3% in October and 18.6% in September.
IndiGo increased its market share by around 2% in November to 33.5% while Jet Airways saw a 2.5% rise to 23%.
SpiceJet also recorded the highest cancellation rate of 16.12% in November as the impact of its increasing financial woes and declining fleet became visible. “The cancellation rate of SpiceJet is high due to the financial difficulties the airline is going through,” DGCA said. The overall cancellation rate of airlines stood at 3.34% in November.
SpiceJet had the highest load factor of 86.9% as it combined multiple flights on various routes across its network.
Meanwhile, despite SpiceJet claiming normal operations, a number of cancellations were reported by the airline on Thursday. It operated only 105 of its 480 flights on Tuesday and Wednesday. “We are getting a number of queries for cancellations now as passengers don’t want a situation where they reach the airport and the flight doesn’t take off,” said Subhash Goyal, chairman, STIC Travel Group.
SpiceJet, aviation ministry officials said, had cleared its outstanding dues with oil companies. “The airline does not have a safety issue (but) it is going through financial stress. They are trying to address their financial woes,” aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said. He confirmed that the airline had sought some “rescheduling” of the money owed to various stakeholders including airports.