Diwali cheer: Air India bullish on ‘Passenger Load Factor’

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on October 26, 2020

Rajiv Bansal   -  PTI

Ahead of Diwali, Air India is bullish that the Passenger Load Factor will reach up to 50 per cent of the pre-covid levels, said Rajiv Bansal, chairman and managing director of Air India Limited.

Last November, Air India carried 15.65 lakh passengers. Air India is operating over 50 per cent of its fleet. Speaking to BusinessLine, Bansal said the current PLF is at least 40 per cent of pre covid times. “We are confident that with Diwali round the corner, there will be several people who would want to go back to their hometowns, so we are expecting PLFs to go above 50 per cent in November.”

According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s August data, Indian carriers saw degrowth of 57.48 per cent between the January-August 2020 as against 943.58 lakhs during the corresponding period.

Though, in August 2020, Air India’s PLF grew by approximately 13 per cent on a month on month basis, thus, showing some green shoots for the national carrier.

This trend can be corroborated with booking trends from OTAs like Ixigo. Aloke Bajpai, CEO & Co-founder, Ixigo said that its booking data trends show that the upcoming festive season will retain a healthy travel appetite this year as well. “With confidence in air travel rising, we have seen a 40 per cent increase in advance bookings for festive travel, in the last three weeks.

According to the October data of Ixigo, flight routes Mumbai to Delhi, Bengaluru to Delhi, Delhi to Mumbai, Hyderabad to Delhi, and Bengaluru to Mumbai have shown tremendous growth.

This trend might remain the same in November as well, said Bansal. “While the traffic between metros will grow, we also expect traffic from metro cities to tier 1 cities routes to see the highest traffic.”

Though on the downside, airlines will not be able to charge a peak season premium this year due to the airfare cap as per govt norms, Bansal added.

Ixigo’s data showed that the average round trip fares are considerably lower this year as compared to last year when domestic airfares spiked up by 20-25 per cent close to Diwali.

Published on October 26, 2020

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