IndiGo is the airline that surprised the aviation world by placing an order for 100 Airbus A320s at the 2004 Paris Air Show. Despite being a late entrant (2006), the budget carrier has built a reputation by offering a decent alternative by keeping things simple and fares affordable. IndiGo has managed to rope in many good hands in the top management and is seen as a stable employer. The Delhi-based airline, promoted by travel group, is inducting a new plane every six weeks and has managed the growth well.
Delhi-based SpiceJet is considered to be among the better-managed budget carriers and boasts close to 10 per cent market share. Unlike Deccan Aviation, it has kept its expansion manageable and has been able to raise money more easily than others. In February 2007, the airline raised Rs 364 crore from investors including the Tata Group and Goldman Sachs. In December 2005, it had raised Rs 360 crore. Market consolidation may force the Rs 550-crore airline to work with another group.
GoAir, a budget carrier floated by the Bombay Dyeing Group, has done good work with branding — for one, its planes are among the most colourful and attractive on Indian runways. The airline has gone slow on expansion and pursued a flexible fleet strategy to keep losses down — it hires a few planes when demand is high in certain months and returns them when demand drops in lean months.
Paramount Airways, promoted by a Tamil Nadu-based textile group, flies in south India and plans to spread its wings in the West and the North. It is now looking at acquisitions.