India’s largest low-cost carrier Go First filed for bankruptcy on May 3, 2023. The company said that increasing fuel costs and tough competition from rivals as the reasons for its financial troubles.
As GoFirst has had a long journey of canceling flights due to its cash crunch, its competitor airline companies such as Air India and IndiGo have taken the initiative to increase the flight frequencies on many busy routes. The idea is to fill the gap in flights left by Go First.
Go First has added flight cancellation till 23 May due to operational reasons. Before, flight cancellations were reported only till May 12. The bankruptcy of Go First had a huge negative impact on the Indian aviation sector. The company operated a fleet of 72 aircraft and served over 60 destinations across India. Its bankruptcy has left a void in the market, which rival airlines are now running to fill.
Air India and IndiGo, India’s two largest airlines, have both increased their flight frequencies to manage the flight void of Go First. Air India and IndiGo are now well-positioned to take advantage of this opportunity and grow their market share.
As per a report in the Economic Times, Tata-supported Air India has increased flights on Delhi-Srinagar and Delhi-Leh routes. The company also has added flights on several essential routes, including Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Chennai, and Delhi-Kolkata. IndiGo has also added flights on these routes, as well as on several smaller routes.
Go First is under the ownership of India’s Wadia group. The Mumbai-based conglomerate company was started in 1736 by Loeji Nusserwanjee Wadia. However, the company now owes financial creditors ₹65.21 billion.
Earlier, Go First enjoyed a huge passenger base for leisure destinations like Leh, Goa, and Srinagar. Even this summer, Go Air had scheduled to operate flights from Delhi to Srinagar, Mumbai to Goa, etc. But due to the financial loss that the company is going through, Go First flights have become completely inoperational for almost a month. However, experts say that Go First failed because of “its own poor management and events like Covid”. The company is having its legal battles in India, Singapore, and Delaware.
Such initiatives by rival companies due to Go First’s absence is clear that the company’s demise has created an opportunity for its competitors. In addition to increasing their flight frequencies, Air India and IndiGo are also offering discounts and other incentives to attract Go First’s customers. This is a sign that the two airlines are taking the competition seriously and that they are determined to win over Go First’s customers.
It remains to be seen whether Air India and IndiGo will be able to sustain their increased flight frequencies and discounts. Let’s see how the competition game goes on and when in the airline sector.