At 11.2%, Air Passenger Growth Returns To Double-Digits In November
A row of passenger aircraft line up ahead of take off. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

At 11.2%, Air Passenger Growth Returns To Double-Digits In November

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Domestic air passenger traffic finally grew in double digits, clipping at 11.2 percent in November after growing in single-digit till October this year.

The 12 domestic carriers, including full-service carriers Air India and Vistara and budget carriers IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir and AirAsia India together have flown 11.6 million passengers in November, according to data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

The aviation regulator attributed the increase in the reporting month to the onset of the tourist season.

The cumulative domestic passenger traffic in the January-November period of 2019 stood at 131.11 million, up from 126.28 million in 2018, registering a growth of 3.86 percent, the DGCA said.

“The double-digits month-on-month growth in passenger traffic in November is a relief for the industry which was experiencing a slow growth since the past few months,” said Sabina Chopra of Yatra.com.

Growth is coming on the back of very competitive airfares, Chopra said, adding lower airfares have been due to the seat capacity additions as well as stable oil prices.

Signs pointing to departure gates hang inside newly inaugurated Terminal 2 building at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)  
Signs pointing to departure gates hang inside newly inaugurated Terminal 2 building at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)  

“The passenger load factor has shown an increasing trend compared to previous months primarily due to the onset of the tourist season,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said.

Passenger load factor or seat occupancy is a measure of how much of an airline's passenger carrying capacity is used or average percentage of seats filled in an aircraft.

The passenger load factor of the six major carriers stood between 83 percent and 92.8 percent in November as against 76-90 percent in October.

Major carriers further fueled growth by announcing discounts during the month, despite it being a peak travel season, Chopra said, adding, “we are positive this growth trend will continue in December due to the Christmas and the New Year”.

The airlines, however, looked less punctual in terms of flight arrivals and departures with none of these six airlines recording more than 68 percent on-time performance from the four largest airports of New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Budget carrier GoAir recorded the highest on-time performance at 67.8 percent, while disinvestment-bound national carrier Air India had the lowest at 42 percent in November.

Also, during the month, a total of 2.65 lakh passengers were affected due to the flights delays across airlines, which paid an amount of about Rs 2 crore towards facilitation besides 41,823 passengers took a hit when their flights were cancelled resulting in payment of Rs 50.73 lakh to them as compensation and facilities.

As many as 2,289 passengers were denied boarding in the month for various reasons and they were paid a total compensation of Rs 92.73 lakh.

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