The Growing IndiGo-Tata Airlines Duopoly and Its Potential Impact on Consumers

The Growing IndiGo-Tata Airlines Duopoly and Its Potential Impact on Consumers
Posted on 27-06-2023

The Growing IndiGo-Tata Airlines Duopoly and Its Potential Impact on Consumers

The Indian domestic aviation market is currently dominated by two major players, IndiGo and the Tata group airlines, which include Air India, Vistara, and AIX Connect (Air Asia India). This duopoly has emerged due to the absence of Go First and the unlikelihood of Jet Airways' revival. While this situation may benefit IndiGo and the Tata airlines, the presence of a duopoly raises concerns for consumers who already face high airfares.


Understanding Duopoly and its Implications for Consumers:

A duopoly occurs when two players control a market for a particular product or service. Generally, increased competition is considered beneficial for consumers, leading to lower prices, improved services, market expansion, and greater innovation. However, in a duopoly, there is a higher likelihood of elevated prices, limited choices for consumers, suboptimal innovation, and restricted market growth. Duopolies can also act as barriers for new entrants, further reducing competition and consumer choices over time.


Current Market Scenario:

SpiceJet is facing challenges related to its fleet and financial troubles, while Akasa Air seems unable to mount a strong challenge. IndiGo's domestic market share increased to 61.4% in May, benefiting from the suspension of Go First's operations. The Tata group airlines collectively saw their market share rise to 26.3% in May. Currently, IndiGo and the Tata airlines control an overwhelming 87.7% of India's domestic civil aviation market, which is the third-largest globally and growing rapidly. Both airline groups have plans for massive fleet expansion and modernization.


Concerns Regarding the Duopoly:

  1. Increased pricing power for dominant airlines: The duopoly gives more pricing power to the leading airlines, potentially resulting in higher fares for consumers.

  2. Limiting unsustainable competition: While the duopoly may limit excessive competition and predatory pricing, it may also reduce incentives for leading airlines to compete on pricing and service quality.

  3. Possibility of cartelization: The dominant players might establish a tacit understanding on airfare levels, which could lead to cartelization among Indian carriers.


Future Outlook for the Indian Aviation Industry:

  1. Influence of dominant players: How IndiGo and the Tata airlines approach the market and compete with each other will shape India's civil aviation sector. Intense competition between them would benefit consumers.

  2. Role of other players: The strategies adopted by less dominant players like Akasa Air and SpiceJet will also be crucial factors in shaping the market.

  3. Entry of new players: The entry of another carrier backed by a solid conglomerate or significant investors could disrupt the duopoly and alter the dynamics of India's aviation market.

  4. Competition from other modes of transport: Competition from road and rail transport, with the development of highways and modernization of railways, may limit excessive airfare hikes.

  5. Additional factors: Affordability, travel duration, and comfort will be key considerations for consumers. Government policies and regulations, such as lowering entry barriers, attracting investment, incentivizing growth, and ensuring transparent airfares, will also play a critical role.


The emerging duopoly between IndiGo and the Tata airlines raises concerns about potentially higher airfares, limited choices for consumers, and reduced market competition. The future of the Indian aviation industry depends on the strategies of existing dominant players, the entry of new competitors, competition from other modes of transport, and government policies and regulations aimed at promoting competition and consumer interests.

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