When it began operations in the domestic aviation sector of India in 2006, no one would have bet on what this airline could achieve in the next five years. Pitted against the deep-pocketed competitors and even the state owned airlines, the Indigo airlines could be easily dismissed as an airline which will see its demise shortly. Six years hence, it is those very deep-pocketed private and the state owned airlines, which were thought to be the blue-eyed boys of Indian civil aviation, that are struggling to avoid a seemingly inevitable demise and Indigo has scaled the heights of growth and profitability year after year. What has made the airlines so successful in an industry and in a market where the bigger players have struggled and even vanished after a few years?
- Better understanding of the target market: Those businesses survive and grow which give what customers want. So, if the target market is the common Indian customer, then one cannot ignore the fact that the customer is price-sensitive. What majority of customers want from the airlines are basic services without unnecessary value additions so that they can get cheap air tickets. Indigo understood this very well and oriented its business to provide the customer cheap flights, time-bound arrivals, clean in-flight services and quality customer service. It has never deviated from this sharp focus on customer needs and remained struck to the very basic needs while providing low cost air tickets to the people.
- Management: Experienced management that works with a clear focus and has the ability to make accurate future assessment has been a great asset for Indigo Airlines. This has helped the airlines to achieve path-breaking deals from the aircraft manufacturers, get the required financing, work on the finer aspects of operational efficiencies and set up institutionalized processes and systems which are fine-tuned to ultimately provide cheap air tickets to the customers.
- Operational Efficiencies: Indigo has focused on its operational efficiency which has also helped it reduce the prices of its tickets and dig deeper into the Indian market. Right from the first step of buying the most fuel efficient aircraft to the efficient management of the flights schedules to avoid delays, encouragement to internet based operations and the fast turnaround times have all contributed significantly to its profitability.
With the gains of experience and the confidence achieved from its success, Indigo is slated to foray into the international aviation sector with a lot of promise. Its no-frills approach and innovative methods are likely to significantly impact its international flights operations as well.