Airline organizations can be classified into a number of segments depending on the nature and degree of services they provide. Major Indian carriers are pressing their feet on the accelerator to reach an acme of service level by the year 2010 when their fleet strength will meet 500 to 550. In the previous two years more than 135 aircrafts have been introduced to keep up with the increasing number of passenger traffic in Indian aerospace. A number of domestic airline groups have emerged in a reasonably short p of time to make the market furiously competitive. Growing tourism: Due to growth in tourism, there has been an increase in number of the international and domestic passengers.
The estimated growth of domestic passenger segment is at 50% per annum and growth for international passenger segment is 25%. Airlines play an important role in international tourism. Developing airline services helps the nation to cash on tourism as more than 85% of the foreign tourist arrives by air. Improving Infrastructure: We all know that India's air transport infrastructure is out-of-date. In fact the overall situation is critical. A recent report by McKinsey suggests that half of India's highly qualified graduates are located in cities without international airports. Without massive change, infrastructure will not be able to handle growth. We must move quickly now. Benefit all—the government, the airport, shippers, passengers, local communities and airlines. Result in greater efficiency—lower costs • Result in better service levels Globalization: Globalization has improved the lives of many in developing nations. Globalization in of its self is the trading of goods and services of a local economy into an integrated global economy. Technological advances have made this practice more feasible within the last 50 years. The major milestones were the development of the internet and increased transportation technology. These two advances made the world coined "flat" and set the stage for higher living standards.
Revolutionized by privatization along with active participation of the foreign investors, the Indian airline industry has experienced phenomenal transformation over the last couple of years. From being a service catering to the needs of the privileged group only it is now well within the reach of middle class population. This has been the result of increased competition in the Indian aviation industry due to the presence of a wide variety of private and public airlines with their low price tags. It was further helped by the entry of Air Deccan, the first budget airline in India, offering unbelievable tariffs to the customers. In the financial year 2006-07 there has been a significant 22. 3 percent growth in passenger traffic in the domestic airports while the aircraft movement recorded a growth by 14. 2 percent.
In terms of the number of flights Jet Airways secures the top position with 8,168 flights operating till June 2007. Indian Airlines is in second position with 7,562 flights. Sahara (3,225 flights), Air Deccan (2,889 flights), Spice Jet (483 flights) and Kingfisher Airlines (367 flights) come thereafter in the list of domestic and national carrier operators.
The Indian airline sector can be broadly divided into the following main categories:
Scheduled air transport service, which includes domestic and international airlines.
Non-scheduled air transport service, which includes charter operators and air taxi operators.
Air cargo service, which includes air transportation of cargo and mail. Scheduled air transport service: It is an air transport service undertaken between two or more places and operated according to a published timetable. It includes: Domestic airlines, which provide scheduled flights within India and to select international destinations. Air Deccan, Spice Jet, Kingfisher Airline and IndiGo are some of the domestic players in the industry. International airlines, which operate scheduled international air services to and from India. Non-scheduled air transport service: It is an air transport service other than the scheduled one and may be on charter basis and/or non-scheduled basis.
The operator is not permitted to publish time schedule and issue tickets to passengers. Air cargo services: It is an air transportation of cargo and mail. It may be on scheduled or non-scheduled basis. These operations are to destinations within India. For operation outside India, the operator has to take specific permission of Directorate General of Civil Aviation demonstrating his capacity for conducting such an operation. At present, there are 2 scheduled private airlines (Jet Airways and Air Sahara), which provide regular domestic air services along with Indian Airlines. In addition there are 47 non-scheduled operators providing air-taxi/non-scheduled air transport services.
Apart from this, the players in airline industry can be categorized in three groups:
Start up players.
There are three public players: Air India, Indian Airlines and Alliance Air. The private players include Jet Airways, Air Sahara, Kingfisher Airlines, Spice Jet, Air Deccan and many more. The startup players are those planning to enter the markets. Some of them are Omega Air, Magic Air, Premier Star Air and MDLR Airlines.
Foreign equity allowed: Foreign equity up to 49 per cent and NRI (Non-Resident Indian) investment up to 100 per cent is permissible in domestic airlines without any government approval. However, the government policy bars foreign airlines from taking a stake in a domestic airline company. Low entry barriers: Nowadays, venture capital of $10 million or less is enough to launch an airline. Private airlines are known to hire foreign pilots, get expatriates or retired personnel from the Air Force or PSU airlines in senior management positions. Further, they outsource such functions as ground handling, check-in, reservation, aircraft maintenance, catering, training, revenue accounting, IT infrastructure, loyalty and programme management. Airlines are known to take on contract employees such as cabin crew, ticketing and check-in agents.
Attraction of foreign shores: Jet and Sahara have gone international by starting operations, first to SAARC countries, and then to South-East Asia, the UK, and the US. After five years of domestic operations, many domestic airlines too will be entitled to fly overseas by using unutilised bilateral entitlements to Indian carriers. Rising income levels and demographic profile: Though India's GDP (per capita) at $3,100 is still very low as compared to the developed country standards, India is shining, at least in metro cities and urban centres, where IT and BPO industries have made the young generation prosperous. Demographically, India has the highest percentage of people in age group of 20-50 among its 50 million strong middle class, with high earning potential.
All this contributes for the boost in domestic air travel, particularly from a low base of 18 million passengers. Untapped potential of India's tourism: Currently India attracts 3. 2 million tourists every year, while China gets 10 times the number. Tourist arrivals in India are expected to grow exponentially, especially due to the open sky policy between India and the SAARC countries and the increase in bilateral entitlements with European countries, and US. . Glamor of the airlines: No industry other than film-making industry is as glamorous as the airlines. Airline tycoons from the last century, like J. R. D. Tata and Howard Hughes, and Sir Richard Branson and Dr. Vijaya Mallya today, have been idolized. Airlines have an aura of glamour around them, and high net worth individuals can always toy with the idea of owning an airline. All the above factors seem to have resulted in a "me too" rush to launch domestic airlines in India.
The Indian Airline Industry A PEST analysis is an analysis of the external macro-environment that affects all firms. P. E. S. T. is an acronym for the Political, Economic, Social, and Technological factors of the external macro-environment. Such external factors usually are beyond the firm's control and sometimes present themselves as threats. For this reason, some say that "pest" is an appropriate term for these factors. Let us look at the PEST analysis of the Indian aviation sector: Political Factors In India, one can never over-look the political factors which influence each and every industry existing in the country. Like it or not, the political interference has to be present everywhere. Given below are a few of the political factors with respect to the airline industry: The airline industry is very susceptible to changes in the political environment as it has a great bearing on the travel habits of its customers. An unstable political environment causes uncertainty in the minds of the air travellers, regarding travelling to a particular country. Overall India’s recent political environment has been largely unstable due to international events & continued tension with Pakistan.
The Gujarat riots & the government’s inability to control the situation have also led to an increase in the instability of the political arena. The most significant political event however has been September 11. The events occurring on September had special significance for the airline industry since airplanes were involved. The immediate results were a huge drop in air traffic due to safety & security concerns of the people. International airlines are greatly affected by trade relations that their country has with others. Unless governments of the two countries trade with each other, there could be restrictions of flying into particular area leading to a loss of potential air traffic (e. g. Pakistan & India)
Another aspect is that in countries with high corruption levels like India, bribes have to be paid for every permit & license required. Therefore constant liasoning with the minister & other government official is necessary. The state owned airlines suffer the maximum from this problem. These airlines have to make several special considerations with respect to selection of routes, free seats to ministers, etc which a privately owned airline need not do. The state owned airlines also suffers from archaic laws applying only to them such as the retirement age of the pursers & hostesses, the labour regulations which make the management less flexible in taking decision due to the presence of a strong union, & the heavy control of the government.
This affects the quality of the service delivery & therefore these airlines have to think of innovative service marketing ideas to circumvent their problems & compete with the private operators. Business cycles have a wide reaching impact on the airline industry. During recession, airline is considered a luxury & therefore spending on air travel is cut which leads to reduce prices. During prosperity phase people indulge themselves in travel & prices increase. After the September 11 incidents, the world economy plunged into global recession due to the depressed sentiment of consumers. In India, even a company like Citibank was forced to cut costs to increase profits for which even the top level managers were given first class railway tickets instead of plane tickets.
The loss of income for airlines led to higher operational costs not only due to low demand but also due to higher insurance costs, which increased after the WTC bombing. This prompted the industry to lay off employees, which further fuelled the recession as spending decreased due to the rise in unemployment. Even the SARS outbreak in the Far East was a major cause for slump in the airline industry. Even the Indian carriers like Air India was deeply affected as many flights were cancelled due to internal (employee relations) as well as external problems, which has been discussed later. Social Factors The changing travel habits of people have very wide implications for the airline industry. In a country like India, there are people from varied income groups.
The airlines have to recognize these individuals and should serve them accordingly. Air India needs to focus on their clientele which are mostly low income clients & their habits in order to keep them satisfied. The destination, kind of food etc all has to be chosen carefully in accordance with the tastes of their major clientele. Especially, since India is a land of extremes there are people from various religions and castes and every individual travelling by the airline would expect customization to the greatest possible extent. For e. g. A Jain would be satisfied with the service only if he is served jain food and it should be kept in mind that the customers next to him are also Jain or at least vegetarian.
Another good example would be the case of South West Airlines which occupies a solid position in the minds of the US air travelers as a reliable and convenient, fun, low fare, and no frills airline. The major element of its success was the augmented marketing mix which it used very effectively. What South West did was it made the environment inside the plane very consumer friendly. The crew neither has any uniform nor does it serve any lavish foods, which indirectly reduces the costs and makes the consumers feel comfortable. Technological Factors The increasing use of the Internet has provided many opportunities to airlines. For e. g. Air Sahara has introduced a service, through the internet wherein the unoccupied seats are auctioned one week prior to the departure.
Air India also provides many internet based services to its customer such as online ticket booking, updated flight information & handling of customer complaints. USTDA (US trade & development association) is funding a feasibility study and workshops for the Airports Authority of India as part of a long-term effort to promote Indian aviation infrastructure. The Authority is developing modern communication, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management systems for India's aviation sector that will help the country meet the expected growth and demand for air passenger and cargo service over the next decade. A proposal for restructuring the existing airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata through long-term lease to make them world class is under consideration.
This will help in attracting investments in improving the infrastructure and services at these airports. Setting up of new international airports at Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa with private sector participation is also envisaged. A good example of the impact of technology would be that of AAI, wherein with the help of technology it has converted its obsolete and unused hangars into profit centers. AAI is now leasing these hangars to international airlines and is earning huge profits out of it. AAI has also tried to utilize space that was previously wasted installing a lamination machine to laminate the luggage of travelers. This activity earns AAI a lot of revenue.
These technological changes in the environment have an impact on Air India as well. Better airport infrastructure, means better handling of airplanes, which can help reduce maintenance cost. It also facilitates more flights to such destinations. The Core Service: The core service of the airlines industry is to transport goods and services to various destinations. As the needs of the people increased the entire system became more organized and formal. After this stage comes the various supplementary services. The Supplementary Services: The airline industry has many players they had a brand name like ‘Air India’,’ Jet Airways’,’ British Airways’.
All of them had some common services to offer like connecting flights, through check-in, tele check in, food on board, and complementary gifts etc. Different classes like economy class, business class were introduced. Air concessions are given to school students, old people etc. Singapore airlines were the first to introduce small 8” television screen for every passenger. The freebies are actually win-win deals between airlines and other services. Sahara, for example, offers its passengers a ‘business-plan’ on two-way economy class ticket, which includes a night’s stay with breakfast, STD facility for 3 minutes and boardroom facility at the Park Hotel, New Delhi.
To Delhi based fliers to Mumbai, it offers a night’s stay with breakfast, airport transfers and VIP amenities at The Orchid, Mumbai. For business class, the plan includes a stay at The Leela, with buffet breakfast and late checkout. All these added service helps the customer to decide upon which airlines he wants to travel. As competition increased and the customers wanted more the next phase evolved and that is the augmented service. The Augmented Service: This phase is where the customer’s expectations are met; the service providers kept working on new methods to meet the ever-changing customers’ demands. The players introduced online booking, which was very convenient for the service users. British Airways business class has showers; it’s more spacious and comfortable.
Sahara airlines offer its passengers six different types of cuisine like vegetarian, fat free, diabetic etc. They also have auction going on board. Virgin airlines have gambling on board, they also have body massage to offer to their passengers. Air Emirates has something called cab service, they have customized pick up and drop cab service. This phase is the most crucial one; with increased competition service will become the final differentiation. Future Service: As mentioned above the customer needs keep changing, the future is unknown. The customers may be looking in for more frequent inexpensive air travel, something like air taxis, supersonic speed. This decreases the time thus reducing the cost.
The airline industry is a service that satisfies customer needs for travelling. In the airline industry the customers can be divided into two segments, business and leisure. While the airline industry started out as a luxury item, business travel has changed this industry to a necessity. As we further become a global economy and communication between international companies intensifies, travel needs continue to increase. The leisure traveller has always had the need for the airline industry. Satisfying the customer needs today involves competitive rates, convenient booking of flights and benefits with those flights.
Some of the problems with this industry are personally experienced by the customers. The airlines have a difficult time being punctual and this has become the norm in the industry, although some companies try to avoid it. The industry is highly susceptible to situations that result in declines in air travel, such as political instability, regional hostilities, recession, fuel price escalation, inflation, adverse weather conditions, consumer preferences, labour instability or regulatory oversight. Airlines are now in the commodity business as the public demands low-priced transportation. It has moved from elite to a common form of transportation.
Today's travellers know how to surf the web for bargains through a myriad of sites such as Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, Hotwire, and Cheaptickets. As a commodity, airlines cannot increase prices to increase profits, so their only choice is to cut operating costs such as labour costs. Amid the competition, airlines have refocused their attention on the customers. The industry still heavily targets frequent flyers, as members can earn miles through travelling, car rentals, hotels, and credit card use. On overseas flights, business class seats convert to real flat beds. Soon passengers will have internet access during flights. Airlines are also catering to the consumer by offering mostly organic menus, while others are offering meals-to-go before boarding.
For travellers pressed for time, many airlines offer fast check-in, online at home before leaving for the airport; or self-service check-in kiosks where passengers identify themselves with a credit card, print their own boarding pass, change their seat, and purchase meal coupons. Price The following are the pricing strategies: Premium Pricing: The airlines may set prices above the market price either to reflect the image of quality or the unique status of the product. The product features are not shared by its competitors or the company itself may enjoy a strong reputation that the 'brand image' alone is sufficient to merit a premium price.
Value for Money Pricing: The intention here is to charge the average price for the product and emphasize that it represents excellent value for money at this price. This enables the airline to achieve good levels of profit on the basis of established reputation. Cheap Value Pricing: The objective here is to undercut the competition and price is used to trigger the purchase immediately. Unit profits are low, but overall profits are achieved. Air India and Indian Airlines have slashed their prices to meet the competition of private airlines so that they can consolidate their position in the market. Airlines usually practice differential pricing. There are three classes: The First Class, The Executive or Business Class and The Economy Class.
Fares for each class are different since the facilities provided and the comfort and luxury level is different in each class. Seasonal fares are also fixed, fares rise during the peak holiday times. Low-cost Pricing: With the advent of the low-cost airlines in the Indian aviation industry, a different low-cost flying concept has come up. Since these low-cost airlines are trying to woo the customers by providing air travel in exceptionally low prices, a price-band kind of pricing has to be designed. In low-pricing strategies, the airlines provide very low prices for the flight tickets. Also, they prices are made cheaper by booking the tickets long before the flight date. APEX Fares: In this scheme, people are given very cheap rates only if tickets are booked at least before the specified time period. But the draw-back here is that if the booking is cancelled, a substantial amount of money is not returned. Promotion Integrated Marketing Communication A successful product or service means nothing unless the benefit of such a service can be communicated clearly to the target market. An organisations promotional mix can consist of:
Internet / E-commerce
In airline industry all the above methods are use for promotion purpose. The aims of promotion fall into three main categories: to inform, to remind, & to persuade.
It will always be necessary to inform prospective consumers about new products & services, but other issue may also need this type of communication to consumers; new uses, price changes, information to build consumer confidence & to reduce fears, full description of service offering, image building. Similarly consumers may need to get reminded about all these types of issues, especially in the off-peak season. It is vitally important to recognize that promotion, or marketing communications generally, may not always be aimed at potential consumer or end user of service. In many business areas, it is to design promotions aimed at channel customers to complement end user promotion. For e. g. Airlines will need to promote their services to tour operators as well as end user. Distribution (Also known as the place variable in the marketing mix, or the 4 Ps) In Airlines, they utilise more than one method of distribution. For e. g. hey sell tickets through travel agents & sell seats on flights to tour operators, whilst also operating direct marketing. Whichever distribution strategy is selected, channel management plays a key role. For channels to be effective they need reliable updated information. For these reason, I. T has been widely adopted such as on-line booking system. Channel structures vary somewhat by the nature of the service Internet booking system Telephone reservation system.
Marketers suggest that the unique requirements of selling services require the organization attend to three additional P's. These are people, physical evidence and process.
The people section of the Marketing Mix is the most important section of the extended Marketing Mix. It is broken up into three sections: Employees, Consumers and the Company. Do we have enough employees to provide a good service? ; Do they have the necessary personal and professional skills? , Do they understand the brand-values? , Are they enough motivated or too tired? Those are questions that airlines companies have to ask themselves, and which answers are going to have important consequences in the type of service provided. The analysis of the buyer behaviour is really interesting in this sector. Every individual have different needs and expectations in this market, so segmentation and positioning will be also fundamental.
Furthermore, it’s normally an industry where, the user follows all the steps of the buyer behaviour in the selection and purchase of the service. Special importance have the Information Search by the customer (which is normally more complete than in other purchases) and beliefs and attitudes, which are the most important challenges of this analysis because normally have an important weight in the final decision of the customer. In a market as competitive as this one, a personal bad experience or just a non favourable belief or attitude can determine the user's choice forever. That's why the Brand Image is also fundamental for this kind of Companies. For e. g.
A Jain would be satisfied with the service only if he is served Jain food and it should be kept in mind that the customers next to him are also Jain or at least vegetarian. Therefore, management faces a tremendous challenge in selecting and training all of these people to do their jobs well, and, perhaps even more important, in motivating them to care about doing their jobs well, and to make an extra effort to serve their customers. After all, these employees must believe in what they are doing and enjoy their work before they can, in turn, provide good service to customers. The "people" component of the service marketing mix also includes the management of the firm's customer mix.
Because services are often experienced at the provider's facilities, other customers who are being served there can also influence one’s satisfaction with a service. For e. g. crying children in a nearby seat on an airplane or ill mannered customer are all examples of unpleasant service conditions caused by a firm's other patrons. Physical Evidence The service is intangible because unlike a product it can't be experienced before it is delivered. It is the ability and environment in which a service is delivered. Because it is intangible customers are at greater risk when deciding whether to use a service, so to reduce this risk, and improve success, potential customer are offered the chance to see what the service would be like with the use of testimonials, demonstrations etc.
Physical layout is not only relevant to its promotional materials, but also to the layout and structure of the organization, and websites. Customers have far higher expectations and therefore they select the particular service which they know will satisfy their want. Promotional materials and written correspondence provide tangible reassurance; they can be incorporated into the firm's marketing communications to help reduce customer anxiety about committing to the purchase. Service firms should design these items with extreme care, since they will play a major role in influencing a customer's impression of the firm. In particular, all physical evidence must be designed to be consistent with the "personality" that the firm wishes to project in the marketplace.
They can offer to the consumer more than a fly: additional services, and so they focus their promotional efforts in communicating that to the potential user. Process The customer service department of any airline company deal with a number of processes involved in making marketing effective in an organisation e. g. processes for handling customer complaints, processes for identifying customer needs and requirements, processes for handling requirement etc. Example of Jet (Entire Process) Purchasing process According to epinions. com, travelers' overall purchasing experiences with Jet have been very positive. People like how easy it is to choose from the different one-way fares online to make up a round-trip reservation.
Some travelers prefer to use Jettelephone reservation agents for purchasing their tickets. Overall, these reservation agents have been described as very courteous and helpful. Destination Choices We found many negative reviews on epinions. com when it came to Jet destination offerings. Several people complained that Jet doesn't offer service (either non-stop or connecting) to enough destinations. Some complained about Jet operating out of smaller, less convenient airports (like Poona and Nasik). People also complained that Jet only offers limited flights per day to some destinations, making travel less convenient for some. Overall Customer Service
Based on our findings at epinions. com, Jet customer service is very highly regarded. Although some people have had unpleasant experiences, almost everyone who gave an opinion raved about the service from Jet flight attendants, gate agents, ticketing/reservation agents, and even the pilots. The 7 Ps - price, product, place, promotion, people, process and physical evidence comprise the modern marketing mix that is particularly relevant in service industry, but is also relevant to any form of business where meeting the needs of customers is given priority. Segmentation involves finding out what kinds of consumers with different needs exist.
In the airline industry, for example, some consumers look for only price, while others are much more concerned about other features and services provided. In general, it holds true that "You can't be all things to all people," and experience has demonstrated that firms that specialize in meeting the needs of one group of consumers over another tend to be more profitable. Generically, there are three approaches to marketing: In the undifferentiated strategy, all consumers are treated as the same, with firms not making any specific efforts to satisfy particular groups. This may work when the product is a standard one where one competitor really can't offer much that another one can't. Usually, this is the case only for commodities.
In the concentrated strategy, one firm chooses to focus on one of several segments that exist while leaving other segments to competitors. For example, Deccan Airlines focuses on price sensitive consumers who will forego meals and assigned seating for low prices. In contrast, most airlines follow the differentiated strategy: They offer high priced tickets to those who are inflexible in that they cannot tell in advance when they need to fly and find it impractical to stay over a Saturday. These travellers usually business travellers pay high fares but can only fill the planes up partially. The same airlines then sell some of the remaining seats to more price sensitive customers who can buy two weeks in advance and stay over. Note that segmentation calls for some tough choices.
There may be a large number of variables that can be used to differentiate consumers of a given product category; yet, in practice, it becomes impossibly cumbersome to work with more than a few at a time. Thus, we need to determine which variables will be most useful in distinguishing different groups of consumers. We might thus decide, for example, that the variables that are most relevant in separating different kinds of airlines consumers are: Preference for price, Preference for combination of price and other features, Consumers not worried at all about price: Looking for privacy or luxury. Willingness to pay for brand names .We now put these variables together to arrive at various combinations. Several different kinds of variables can be used for segmentation.
Demographic variables essentially refer to personal statistics such as income, gender, education, location (rural vs. urban, East vs. West), ethnicity, and family size. Jet Airways; for instance, has found that people from western region (India) on the average prefer vegetarian meal whereas people from east prefer non-vegetarian meal. Taking this a step farther, it is also possible to segment on lifestyle and values. Some consumers want to be seen as similar to others, while a different segment wants to stand apart from the crowd. Another basis for segmentation is behaviour. Some consumers are "brand loyal" i. e. , they tend to stick with their preferred brands even when a competing one is on sale.
Intense competition in Indian Aviation Industry has made the role of technology very important for domestic airline companies. Technology can help in making travel comfortable, allow easy access to tickets and reduce time to check-in. A considerable amount of money is also saved by automation. Following points highlight the increasing use of Technology by different Airlines: Vijay Mallya-promoted Kingfisher Airlines is planning to install a landscape camera at the bottom of the aircraft that will enable passengers get a view of the take-off and landing of their airplane when flying on domestic routes. They are also going to allow GSM phones to be used on board for the first time.
They are already providing live TV as part of our high-end In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) initiatives. Kingfisher Airlines has announced the launch of two world-class technological innovations to enhance guest convenience. The first cutting-edge innovation is the introduction of the ‘Roving Agent’ at the airport. Now guests with hand baggage need not have to wait at the check-in counter to collect their boarding pass, instead they can directly approach the Kingfisher Airline’s Roving Agents deployed outside the security check-in area who will book them on their choice of seats. Also launched is the facility of ‘Web Check-in’. Now Kingfisher Airlines' guests can sit in the comfort of their homes or offices and print their boarding passes.
All a guest has to do is log on to the official website of Kingfisher Airlines, www. flykingfisher. com, and click on the link - web check-in. Fill-in your reservation details and the screen will display the choice of seats available onboard that particular flight. Once booked, the guest can conveniently print out the boarding pass and carry it along with him/her on the day of the flight and proceed straight to the security check counter at the airport. The Airbus A380, the world`s largest and most advanced passenger airplane, which is widely regarded as the future of aviation, marks a momentous milestone in the history of civil aviation in India.
Kingfisher Airlines, India’s fastest-growing airline, has engaged Sabre Airline Solutions, the global leader of software and services for the airline industry from planning to execution, to provide a full suite of more than 20 enterprise applications to enhance its guest processing functions, as the airline continues its rapid expansion of its operations. Kingfisher Airlines is also leveraging other technology from Sabre Airline Solutions to help analyze the market and determine the best approaches to maximize revenue. Kingfisher Airlines Ltd and Dish TV have joined hands to provide live in-flight entertainment on Kingfisher aircraft. The in-flight entertainment system is one of the best in the world. The increasing use of the Internet has provided many opportunities to airlines. For e. g.
Kingfisher has introduced a service through the internet, wherein the unoccupied seats are auctioned one week prior to the departure. Public sector airline Air-India is exploring the possibility of launching an information technology (IT) subsidiary to handle its automation activities. Jet Airways has launched an Interactive Voice Response (IVR)-based payment and ticketing services. The service will allow passengers to complete their reservation with credit cards through a secure gateway and instantly receive their e-tickets via email. Low-cost carriers such as Air Deccan, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo are currently allowing a web-check apart from online booking. Reliability is most important to customers.
Reliability is performing promised service dependably and accurately. If you don't deliver on your promise you can lose customers and your credibility will be damaged. It takes a long time for a company to build up a reputation for reliability, and only a short time to be branded as "unreliable". Security in airline industry is a very important issue. Terrorist threats and narcotics are the main threats in Indian airports. The airlines and the security screening people they contract with have a simple choice – employ more staff so as to process their passengers more efficiently, or lay off staff and cause their passengers to spend more time waiting to check in than they actually spend on the flight itself.
Tangible - Tangibles refers to physical facilities and facilitating goods. Examples of tangibles would be distinctive materials such as brochures and the cleanliness of the facilities. Tangible is what makes you different than competitors. Customer can see for themselves and then decide whether to go for the service or not. Responsiveness - Responsiveness is the willingness to help customers promptly. Avoid having customers waiting for no apparent reason. Responsiveness is very important because if you provide customers with what they need in a timely fashion they will be satisfied. Nobody likes to wait. Replying to a customer request promptly is a good example of responsiveness.
If customers see that the company is willing to help, this will cause loyalty and it will let them know that you are concerned about them. Assurance is the ability to convey trust and confidence. Being polite and showing respect for customers will create trust. Also having professional and knowledgeable staff will create trust and confidence in customers. People enjoy meeting pleasant, knowledgeable people. By being pleasant and knowledgeable to everyone a business will present the kind of business image that draws new business. Empathy is the ability to be approachable. Empathy involves treating customers as individuals. When a customer has a problem they should not be afraid to ask questions. A company should adapt to the specials needs of a customer. Listening to customers concerns and proving them with a positive solution is how you show empathy.
Airline industry in India is plagued with several problems. These include high aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices, rising labour costs and shortage of skilled labour, rapid fleet expansion, and intense price competition among the players. But one of the major challenges facing Indian aviation industry is infrastructure constraint. Airport infrastructure needs to be upgraded rapidly if Indian aviation industry has to continue its success story. Some steps have been taken in this direction. Two of India's largest airports-Mumbai and New Delhi-were privatized recently.
Two Greenfield airports are coming up at Bangalore and Hyderabad in southern India. Investments are pouring into almost all aspects of the industry, including aircraft maintenance, pilot training and air cargo services. The future prospects of Indian aviation sector look bright. The Indian aviation industry has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years, with key drivers being positive economic factors, including high GDP growth, good industrial performance, and corporate profitability and expansion. Other factors include higher disposable incomes, growth in consumer spending, and availability of low fares.
Consolidation in the aviation industry: Consolidation will ease competition and give pricing power to the dominant players and as a result of higher fares even smaller players like SpiceJet stand to benefit. The air fares for SpiceJet are expected to increase by 7. 4% and 3. 6% during FY08E and FY09E respectively. Due to booming economy, it is believed that the growth in the aviation industry will continue in the scenario of increased airfares. Generally it is believed that the aviation sector in any country grows at twice the growth rate of its GDP. In India, the GDP is growing at more than 7-8% per annum, which makes the growth rate in the aviation sector to be in excess of 15%. Aviation industry in India is expected to grow at a much better rate than this because the industry is at a nascent stage with lower base and low penetration.
Strong passenger growth to boost top-line and profit: Strong passenger growth would lead to 86% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) growth in revenues for the next two years. Increased passenger volume would also help in spreading fixed cost over larger passenger base there by bringing down per unit cost. Domestic Passengers: In the last three years, the number of passengers travelling by air has more than doubled with industry carrying 34mn passenger during FY07. On back of conversion of upper class rail passengers to air travel and the surging tourism industry we expect the number of people travelling by air to increase at a CAGR of 25% to 67mn by FY10E. We expect the revenue passengers for SpiceJet to increase from 2. 8mn in FY07 (12 months) to 6. mn in FY09E, a CAGR of 58%. The expected growth in revenue passenger is on account of aggressive increase in fleet size from 11 aircrafts in FY07 to 23 aircrafts by FY09E.
Books and Journals: Adrian Palmer (2001), Principles of Services Marketing, third edition, McGraw Hill, London.
Kotler (1998) Marketing Management Ninth Edition The Economist, 4th January 2002 A new way to fly Websites Referred: www. 4ds. com
www. epinions. com
www. business. headlinesindia. com
www. oppapers. com
www. icmrindia. org
www. airindia. com
www. flyairdeccan. net
www. spicejet. com (www. spicejet. com/pdf/BSE_Q2FY08)
www. jetairways. com www. flykingfisher. com