Domestic Air Passenger Traffic Recovery Continued In October: ICRA
An employee displays gate information for IndiGo as travelers wait in line at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

Domestic Air Passenger Traffic Recovery Continued In October: ICRA

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Domestic air travel demand continued on an upward trajectory in October, according to ICRA Ltd.

The Indian aviation industry witnessed continued recovery in domestic passenger traffic in October with a sequential growth (over September) of around 33% to around 52 lakh passengers, ICRA said in a release on Friday.

On a year-on-year basis, however, domestic travel demand declined 58% and international demand fell 87%, it said.

Also read: IndiGo Prepares Mega Engine Order, Defying Aviation Gloom

The Civil Aviation Ministry in June had permitted increasing the capacity to 45% with effect from June 27 from a maximum of one-third at the time of resumption of domestic flights from May 25, which was further scaled up to 60% from Sept. 2.

The capacity is expected to go up to 70-75% in the coming days in view of the festive season, the government had said.

According to ICRA, the cumulative domestic passenger volumes since the resumption of domestic flight services in a graded manner from May 25, till October 31, was around 1.6 crore.

"The number of flights departing has also gradually increased from 416 on Day 1 to 1,749 on Day 156 (Oct. 26). For October, the average daily departures were around 1,574, significantly lower than the average daily departures of 3,031 in October 2019, though better than around 1,311 in September 2020," said Kinjal Shah, Vice President, ICRA.

Also, the average number of passengers per flight during October, was 106, as against an average of 131 passengers per flight in the same month last year, she said.

Therefore, it is expected that the domestic aviation industry operated at a passenger load factor of around 68% in October compared to 83.6% last year, that too on a low capacity, she added.

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

According to Shah, the PLF for October was higher than 63.2% in September, despite the increase in capacity deployment by around 24%.

Under the Vande Bharat Mission, the international passenger traffic, both (inbound and outbound, was 10.96 lakh between May 7 (when the services commenced) to Oct. 31, as per ICRA.

The international passenger traffic declined 87% to 2.55 lakh year-on-year, though sequentially it improved by about 22%, ICRA said in the release.

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