Why Indians fancy flying

Why Indians fancy flying

Indians love to fly. Till the end of November this year, almost 40 million Indians took to the skies in 2009. And the numbers are growing. They’re very discerning, too. They like the “five-star" fare dished out by Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, appreciate Jet Airways (India) Ltd and make no bones about expressing displeasure at what they perceive to be shoddy service standards at the public sector Air India. They’re also highly value conscious, as is evident from the 70% market share enjoyed by the five low-cost carriers (LCCs).

“We are a nation of people who are, perhaps, easy to please. Overall, a satisfaction index of 765 out of 1,000 is not a mean score by any standard. But we are also a diverse lot. And, therefore, it comes as no surprise that the satisfaction ratings vary significantly across towns," says Raghu Roy, managing director, MaRS, the knowledge partner for this survey.

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The survey also indicates that the distinction between full-service airlines and their low-cost rivals are fast getting blurred. While Kingfisher and Jet Airways are the two top-ranked airlines overall on all parameters, their scores are not overwhelmingly superior to those of the LCCs, and they are not ahead of the pack in all the cities and towns surveyed.

In Bangalore, passengers actually rated JetLite, Jet Airways’ low-cost sibling, over Kingfisher and Jet. In New Delhi and Chennai, too, an LCC, SpiceJet Ltd, emerges as the most preferred airline, once again underlining the fact that Indians are a very diverse lot. One caveat is in order.

All the passengers who had flown Paramount Airways rated it the best airline, but since the pool of such fliers was very small (only 42 of the 1,330 passengers we surveyed had flown the airline), we decided to keep it out of the overall rankings.

The survey was carried out by Monitoring and Research Systems Pvt. Ltd among 1,330 passengers who had taken at least four flights in the past one year. The sample was spread across 10 towns—Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Guwahati, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. The survey was carried out in August.

Graphics by Sandeep Bhatnagar / Mint