In this industry, there are a variety of businesses, called airlines, which provide air transportation services for customers. Human travellers and cargo are transported via these air transport services, which are generally offered via jets, although some airlines also use helicopters.
Airlines offer scheduled and chartered airline services, allowing customers to purchase airline tickets and travel throughout the world. Pilots, flight attendants, and ground crew are some of the career options in the airline industry.
What are the Different Types of Airlines?
Different parts of the world define airlines differently, and airlines are often categorized into different categories. In general, however, airlines can be classified into three types:
- International Airlines
The largest, most high-profile and most successful airlines globally are international airlines. These companies generate billions in revenue each year from operating large passenger planes. Additionally, these airlines offer global service, transporting cargo and passengers over long distances.
Moreover, international airlines employ tens of thousands of people, usually have multiple hubs, and offer connections to hundreds of destinations worldwide. American Airlines, for instance, provides links to hundreds of destinations worldwide.
- National Airlines
Compared to international airlines, national airlines are smaller. Many of them offer large and medium-sized jets and focus on serving areas within their home country, although some will provide international services.
Despite employing thousands of people, a national airline would only have a small fleet. Many times, the destinations they offer flights fluctuate based on seasonal variations.
- Regional Airlines
Last but not least, regional airlines offer services within specific regions, as their name suggests. They often operate in parts of the world where national or international carriers do not work and where demand is low.
As an affiliate of a national or international airline, some regional airlines also serve as intermediaries. These connection flights typically occur from the region they do to the airline’s central hub.
Airline Business Models: 4 Important Models
The airline industry is a huge one, with many different ways of doing business worldwide. In general, however, most of them can be classified as belonging to one of the following four business models:
- Full-Service Carriers
The business model of full-service carriers includes a range of pre-flight and onboard services included in the ticket price. For example, checked baggage, in-flight meals, and multiple service classes like first-class, business-class, economy-class, and so on are included.
In most cases, they offer both passenger and cargo services and frequent flyer programs. Many full-service carriers worldwide used to be state-owned carriers that have since been privatized. Airlines usually provide short- and long-haul flights and domestic and international flights.
- Low-Cost Carriers
Airlines that offer low-cost services compete against full-service airlines by reducing costs. The company makes use of smaller fleets and aircraft to accomplish this, as well as providing fewer services. They emphasize value for money as their main priority.
Travellers often find low-cost carriers to be significantly cheaper than traditional airlines. In-flight meals and baggage allowances will almost certainly not be part of the ticket price, and they tend not to offer lounge service at airports. Customers typically pay separately for these amenities when they are available.
- Charter Airlines
Charter airlines serve tourists very firmly and are also called holiday carriers. Tickets sold by charter airlines are not sold directly to tourists, however. Instead, these companies will enter into agreements with tour operators and/or travel agencies, who will find passengers on their behalf.
A vital component of the business model is reducing costs in general, as with low-cost airlines. A charter airline serves as a “middle ground” between full-service carriers and low-cost carriers in passenger services. In many cases, the cost of an airline ticket will include in-flight meals and similar services.
- Cargo Airlines
In addition, cargo airlines, also known as air freight carriers, transport cargo or freight exclusively and primarily by air. There are cargo airlines which are subsidiaries and divisions of passenger airlines. Lufthansa Cargo and Emirates SkyCargo are examples.
Integrated cargo carriers and traditional cargo carriers can be further divided into cargo airlines. UPS Airlines and FedEx Express are two airlines classified as integrated cargo carriers. In the latter case, all aspects of cargo transportation, including ground and non-flight elements, are under the company’s control.
India’s Top 10 Best Airlines
The following are the top 10 picks for Indian airlines:
- Air India
The reasons I remain loyal to Air India in India are many. Although Air India suffers from rough weather with alarming alacrity, I choose them for domestic and international flights.
The airline flies to 54 destinations domestically and 40 abroad with 125 modern aircraft.
The On-Time Performance of Air India, which means flights departing and arriving on time, is quite impressive, as the airline is an FSC.
In addition to serving the large expatriate Indian community abroad, Air India remains India’s national carrier.
Their services include the transportation of mortal remains of Indian citizens from economically disadvantaged sections of the ex-pat community for free.
Immediately after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Air India conducted the world’s largest aerial evacuation of civilians.
During 54 days, the airline evacuated over 110,000 Indian civilians back to India from Amman, Jordan.
As a low-cost carrier, Air India Express operates as a subsidiary of the airline. In the six Arab Gulf countries, Air India Express primarily provides reasonably priced air tickets to expatriate Indians.
As part of its frequent flyer program, Air India offers Flying Returns. Every time you fly domestically or internationally with Air India and Star Alliance members, you can earn Flying Returns miles.
Freebies are available in the form of these points. Members of Flying Returns are free.
Star Alliance is a network of airlines with which Air India is a member.
Further, they have code-share agreements with several foreign carriers, so you can quickly transfer to other airlines when you travel to other countries not served by Air India.
Star Alliance partners can also use the airline’s frequent flyer program miles.
When flying with Vistara airlines, you will experience world-class service in flight.
TATA-SIA Airlines, commonly known as Vistara, is a subsidiary of Tata Sons of Singapore.
With an average age of only two-and-a-half years, the fleet at Vistara consists of 22 Airbus A-320 aircraft.
Currently, Air India operates 800 flights to 24 destinations within India. Vistara will have 70 aircraft within a decade, including Boeing’s latest models.
Vistara is most likely going to start flying internationally after expanding its fleet.
The company is looking to expand into Middle Eastern markets, where millions of Indian expatriates live and work.
On Vistara, you can choose between Business and Economy classes.
Many foreign carriers cannot match their in-flight service. During a flight, you will feel comfortable due to the fantastic cabin crew at Vistra.
TajSATS is a joint venture between India’s Taj Group of Hotels and Singapore’s SATS that provides food onboard Vistara flights.
Flying with the airline is Club Vistara. Among membership benefits is access to select airport lounges, more baggage allowance, and priority boarding.
More than 25 foreign airlines have interlining agreements with Vistara to provide check-in and customs clearance at the destination.
The Vistara Travel Certificate program is also unique.
In addition to their names, flight numbers, route and other details, Vistara can provide travellers with an official certificate. The cost for the certificate is Rs.300 per person.
- Air Asia India
In 2006, Air Asia was my first airline experience, long before its Indian subsidiary was formed.
Considering I had paid a low fare for my Phnom Penh flight, it had been a fantastic flight.
Food and drinks – which you have to buy – were very reasonably priced, as were their comfortable seats.
The company offers low-cost flights on domestic routes in India and destinations in Asia and the Far East.
Tata Sons owns 51 per cent of this Low-Cost carrier in India, while Air Asia Berhad, Malaysia owns the remaining 49 per cent.
With a fleet of 20 aircraft, Air Asia serves 22 destinations in India. Operations will be expanded.
The carrier, however, works with airports that have lower operating costs since it is a Low-Cost Carrier.
I consider Air Asia the best airline for one primary reason: Their fares for flights between India and destinations in the Far East are exceedingly reasonable.
Various foreign airports may, however, require a transit visa for transiting. Visas are not necessary for travelling through most countries if your stay is brief.
India’s second-largest airline is SpiceJet, a Low-Cost Carrier (LCC).
The company has a nearly 14 per cent share of the Indian passenger market. There are currently 47 Indian destinations served by the airline and seven international ones. Over 312 flights are operated daily by SpiceJet.
Having received orders from Boeing and other manufacturers, SpiceJet’s fleet numbered 76 aircraft by the end of March. SpiceJet plans to expand both domestically and internationally over the next few years.
I can say little about their inflight services or other parameters related to passengers since this is a no-frills airline.
However, they sometimes offer low fares to popular destinations during special promotions.
India’s largest carrier, IndiGo, accounts for 46.9% of the overall domestic passenger market.
Because they operate to nearly 70 destinations with a fleet of 222 aircraft and offer very competitive airfares.
More than 350 new aircraft have already been ordered by the airline. In 2017, IndiGo ranked seventh in Asia in terms of passenger traffic.
In addition to being a no-frills carrier, this airline does not have any in-flight amenities to discuss. The airline is very punctual, however.
As well as operating in 17 countries, the airline also has a strong presence abroad. Among its destinations are those in the Middle East and Asia.
Moreover, IndiGo operates a codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines to transport passengers to Europe and the Atlantic Ocean.
The low-cost carrier GoAir is yet another in the country. The airline’s daily schedule includes 230 flights to 24 domestic and four international destinations.
GO Air is operating a fleet of 47 new Airbus aircraft, part of 144 ordered by the airline.
Through its websites, the airline offers very inexpensive air tickets. As I discovered, booking well in advance is the best way to get GoAir’s cheapest deals.
Also, this airline doesn’t have a lot of frills. In addition to these free services, they also offer several excellent paid services that you can prebook when buying your ticket online.
- SriLankan Airlines
SriLankan Airlines is a solid example of why I include it on this list. The airline flies to 14 Indian cities.
Sri Lanka is famous for its uncertainty, so it’s no surprise that this airline’s mainstay from the Island of Serendipity is flights to India.
SriLankan Airlines has flown me to several foreign destinations. This is the airline of choice to travel to Middle Eastern destinations.
In Sri Lanka, Indians arriving on arrival can stay overnight there and visit some sights or go for a bit of shopping thanks to the visa-on-arrival arrangement.
Indian passengers usually receive stopover paid by the carrier (STPC) benefits when flying with SriLankan.
Suppose you are transiting at Bandaranaike International Airport near Colombo for more than eight hours during your connecting flight with Sri Lankan Airlines. In that case, you are entitled to complimentary hotel accommodation and meals.
- Qatar Airways
There are many reasons to book a flight with Qatar Airways, including student discounts and senior discounts and the excellent service they provide.
In India, this airline serves 14 destinations. Whether you’re travelling to any part of the world, this airline is the best choice,
Qatar Airways is a five-star airline globally, which few people would know. It is a fantastic award held by a small number of air carriers.
Almost every continent in the world is served by the airline. Hence, you can be confident that Qatar Airways will offer you flights anywhere in the world.
India is well connected to the transatlantic and European networks of these airlines.
Do not miss the Duty-Free shopping onboard Qatar Airways flights. Qatar Airways offers a wide range of Duty-Free products.
A unique item can also be purchased during the flight as a gift or for your collection.
In Qatar Airways’ Frequent Flyer Program, known as QMiles, there are a lot of benefits. For flights that Oneworld Alliance operates, you can also earn miles or points for flying with Qatar Airways.
- Thai International (Thai Airways)
The airline, Thai Airways, shouts advertisements with Smooth as Silk. This airline is the best I have flown from the Far East.
Unlike most other airlines, Thai Airways has a worldwide network Thai Airways.
Thai International has always delivered a smooth experience, and I’ve flown with them countless times.
During my years travelling with Thai Airways, I never once found a reason to complain.
They provide impeccable customer service on the ground. The cabin crew goes out of their way to make you comfortable on board.
On any Thai International flight, the in-flight service is excellent. The experience is almost addictive.
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij sounds strange. However, this word in Dutch stands for one of the leading foreign airlines in India, KLM.
My heart belongs to this airline from the Netherlands.
KLM is an excellent airline for many reasons, regardless of your personal preferences. Their flights to Europe and transatlantic destinations are among the best available from India.
On the flight, you’ll have access to the latest movies and the best in-flight entertainment. Their attentive cabin crew responds to your every need promptly.
Furthermore, KLM’s ground crew at Schiphol International Airport outside Amsterdam is praised.
Even if you haven’t confirmed a seat earlier, they still try to secure you a seat. In case of immigration problems at Schiphol, they guide you.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma