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Cheap Tickets to Stay as India’s Airlines Squabble on Fare Hikes

  • The largest Indian airline controls over 50% of local market
  • Multiple carriers have folded on lower fares, higher costs
An IndiGo jet prepares to land at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata.
An IndiGo jet prepares to land at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata.Photographer: Arco Dato/Bloomberg

Top airline bosses agreed on many things at the Wings India airshow in Hyderabad last month: taxes should be reduced and airport capacity must be ramped up. One thing they couldn’t settle upon: whether unfair competition is keeping fares artificially low in what’s already a brutally competitive market. 

Sunil Bhaskaran, the chief executive officer of AirAsia India, was upfront. Indian aviation is suffering from “irresponsible competition” that’s kept fares low despite high taxes and fuel prices, he said. Bhaskaran didn’t single out who he was referring to. But the one carrier capable of making the entire market dance to its tune is IndiGo, India’s largest airline.