The domestic air travel industry witnessed a mixed picture in April 2024. Year-on-year growth was modest at 2.4 per cent, with 132 lakh passengers carried. However, this fell slightly short of March’s 133.68 lakh, suggesting a potential seasonal dip. Notably, April 2019 saw only 109.95 lakh passengers, indicating a significant recovery compared to pre-pandemic levels.

For the second month running, Akasa Air emerged as the most punctual airline, achieving 89.2 per cent on-time performance at the four major airports (Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru). This puts it ahead of established players such as IndiGo and could disrupt the market.

IndiGo maintained its lead with a 60.6 per cent market share, flying 80 lakh passengers in April. Air India followed with 14.2 per cent market share (18.8 lakh passengers). However, Vistara and SpiceJet experienced a decline. Vistara’s strategic 10 per cent capacity reduction (around 25-30 daily flights) to stabilise operations resulted in a drop to 9.2 per cent market share (12.18 lakh passengers). SpiceJet continued its downward trend since February 2022, dipping further to 4.7 per cent market share (6.17 lakh passengers). Akasa Air, despite being a new player, held steady at 4.4 per cent market share (5.8 lakh passengers), indicating a promising foothold.

Occupancy rates across airlines differed. Major carriers such as IndiGo, Air India, Vistara, SpiceJet, and AIX Connect enjoyed a healthy 85-91 per cent passenger load factor, suggesting strong demand on many routes. Akasa Air, however, saw a slight dip to 87.9 per cent, suggesting potential for improvement in filling seats.

Despite the traffic growth, cancellations rose slightly. The overall cancellation rate for airlines reached 0.80 per cent (around 17 basis points higher than March). The regional carrier Flybig had the highest disruption rate at 10 per cent. Notably, Vistara faced challenges with a 2.4 per cent cancellation rate due to crew shortage, impacting over 32,000 passengers. Miscellaneous reasons such as crew unavailability contributed most to cancellations (42.3 per cent), followed by technical, weather, operational, and commercial factors.

Flight-related issues led to 774 passenger complaints in April. Fortunately, airlines addressed nearly all complaints (99.7 per cent). Flight delays affected around 1.09 lakh passengers, while cancellations impacted over 32,000. To compensate for these inconveniences, airlines provided a total of ₹360.8 lakh for delays, cancellations, and denied boarding.

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