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IndiGo struggling to meet its exalted standards

In February, IndiGo received a total of 106 baggage complaints out of 238 complaints in this category for the entire sector. That's quite an increase from last year, when it received only 41 complaints in July and 47 in August.

(Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)

IndiGo does it again. For the fourth month in a row, the airline has reported the highest baggage-related complaints compared to all domestic carriers (Baggage problems arise either when a luggage goes missing or suffers damage).

In February, IndiGo received a total of 106 baggage complaints out of 238 complaints in this category for the entire sector. That's quite an increase from last year, when it received only 41 complaints in July and 47 in August. The good news is that the airline was quick in redressal of all sorts of complaints in the three months to February.

The liability for loss, delay or damage to baggage is currently governed by the provisions of Carriage by Air Act, 1972. Meanwhile, IndiGo's website says that its liability for loss or damage to baggage is Rs 350 per kg limited to a maximum of Rs 20,000.

For an airline known for industry best on-time performance, high service standards and profit-making abilities, the other worry has been its sliding record in timeliness of its flights. For flights delayed by over two hours, in recent months, passengers travelling with IndiGo were second-most affected.

In February, for instance, 11,782 passengers suffered as many of IndiGo's flights were delayed by over two hours, according to DGCA data. Air India 'led' the pack on this front with the highest number of affected passengers - 30,746. The two-hour-delay is a significant delay, especially for domestic routes where most flights are up to two hours duration. Overall, though, IndiGo's on-time-performance has been the best in the industry even in the past few months.

According to IndiGo, it carries the most number of passengers and its nearest competitor carries nearly half as many passengers. "As a ratio of the number of passengers carried, we are probably the lowest. Our number of mishandled bags has nearly halved from 0.7 per 10,000 passengers to 0.4 per 10,000 passengers. So instead of becoming complacent, we have worked hard on it and halved our rate in just one year. Even on flight cancellations, our rate is lowest despite the fact that we probably operate the most number of flights. Finally, as per ministry records, IndiGo has registered zero complaints on staff behavior for most months in the past two years," says a company spokesperson.*

IndiGo's frequent slippages in service delivery are taking place at a time when the airline is reportedly planning to go public. It is reportedly preparing a draft prospectus that will be submitted to market regulator SEBI to raise money this year.

IndiGo is promoted by Gurgaon-based InterGlobe Enterprises, and leads the aviation market in India with highest market share for several months now.

*The article has been edited to incorporate comments from IndiGo.