New Delhi (IANS): Private carrier Jet Airways, together with its low-cost airline JetLite, was India\'s largest domestic air services operator in 2008, ferrying some 12.01 million passengers for a market share of 29.5 percent, latest data showed on Tuesday.
Vijay Mallya\'s Kingfisher Airlines, along with its budget carrier Kingfisher Red, was next, flying 11.26 million passengers to capture a 27.6 percent market share, as per data released by the civil aviation ministry.
The state-run Air India\'s domestic operations, which earlier operated under the Indian Airlines brand name, continued to lose market share and flew just 6.63 million passengers for a market share of 16.3 percent. It had a 19-percent market share in 2007.
�We have been the market leader since 2000 and we continue to maintain that lead. The acquisition of Air Sahara, which now flies under the JetLite brand name, our market share has only improved,� said a spokesperson for Jet.
Air India, which was formed after the merger of another state-run carrier Indian Airlines - that now ceases as a brand name - said they hope to regain a lot of their market share in the current year.
�Last year, we were third. Now we rank second after Jet Airways and ahead of Kingfisher, that is, if you consider the airlines individually,� said an Air India spokesperson.
�As new aircraft join our fleet at regular intervals, you will see our market share improve further.�
Overall, Indian domestic carriers ferried 40.7 million passengers in 2008, a marginal drop of 5 percent over the previous year. Indian carriers carried 42.8 million passengers in 2007.