India saw 6.3 crore international travellers last year, up 7.3% from 5.9 crore in 2017. While Jet AirwaysNSE -2.27 % remained the single largest airline for flying people in and out of India, its financial troubles coupled with the downsizing of partner Etihad saw the two airlines together account for 1-crore-six-lakh international travellers, down from 1.1 crore in 2017. In fact, the Air India and AI Express together flew almost as many people in and out of India last year as the Jet-Etihad combine, with the latter ahead by just 18,892 passengers! Incidentally, the AI-AI Express carried more than 1 crore international passengers for the first time last year.
Last year saw some significant shakeups in the top 10 list of standalone airlines for international travel. While Jet, AI and Emirates retained the top three positions in 2018 like 2017, IndiGoNSE 3.65 % pipped AI Express to become the fourth largest international player in India last year. Thanks to adding a-plane-a-week in 2018 and deploying additional capacity on international routes, IndiGo saw its overseas passengers number swell 48% to 41.8 lakh from 28.3 lakh in 2017. AI Express swapped places with IndiGo and became the fifth biggest player.