Murky skies: Domestic air passenger traffic growth dips to 3.74% in 2019

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2020 Published on January 20, 2020

File photo   -  The Hindu

Slowdown, high fares and infra woes at Mumbai, Delhi act as airpockets for sector

At 14.41 crore passengers, the domestic aviation industry witnessed a growth of just 3.74 per cent in traffic in 2019 compared with 2018, data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, released on Monday show. The domestic air passenger traffic grew by 18.6 per cent to 13.89 crore in 2018.

Domestic air passenger traffic in December 2019 increased by 2.56 per cent to 1.30 crore compared with the same month in 2018. In comparison, the growth in domestic traffic in November 2019 was 11.18 per cent.

The economic slowdown, increasing airfares and infrastructure woes at the Delhi and Mumbai airports are being cited as some of the reasons for the dismal show. “The combination of overall slowdown in the economy and the fact that the casual flyers are being more prudent in their travel habits seems to be biting the air travel industry,” Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, Director and Practice Leader, Transport, Crisil Infrastructure Advisory, said. He pointed out that with Delhi and Mumbai airports being the “major originators and culminators of traffic” in the country, airport infrastructure issues are also likely to have an impact on growth in the medium term. 

Padmanabhan is of the opinion that the domestic industry is likely to see the same kind of muted growth in domestic civil aviation as is being witnessed at the moment. 

Aloke Bajpai, Co-founder, ixigo, added that the last few quarters have seen slow growth largely due to capacity constraints resulting in high airfares. “Travel-related bookings went down 10-15 per cent last quarter, across the country with metros affected the most. November was an exception and saw good growth as a result of various airline sales in the period leading up to the festive season. This kept the average fares of tickets bought for November at a reasonable level. However, domestic fares increased by 10-12 per cent for December as compared to the same time last year, which in turn impacted growth,” he pointed out.

 In December last year, IndiGo retained the top spot, having flown 61.88 lakh passengers. SpiceJet took the number two spot, having carried 21.44 lakh passengers. Air India flew 15.49 lakh passengers, taking the third spot followed by GoAir (13.32 lakh passengers). AirAsia carried 9.11 lakh passengers in December, while Vistara flew 7.92 lakh passengers.

When it came to Passenger Load Factor (PLF), SpiceJet retained the top spot, reporting a PLF of 92.7 per cent, followed by IndiGo at 90.1 per cent and GoAir at 89.7 per cent. AirAsia reported a PLF of 84.3 per cent and Vistara 81.1 per cent. The PLF shows how many of the total seats on offer by each airline are getting filled.

Best on-time performance

IndiGo reported the best on-time performance (OTP) at 70.6 per cent, followed by Vistara (67.9 per cent), AirAsia (67 per cent), GoAir (64.7 per cent), SpiceJet (59.4 per cent) and Air India (48 per cent) at the four metro airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

The industry paid ₹4.62 crore in compensation to over 3.5 lakh passengers affected by cancellations and delays, including paying over ₹2.88 crore to over 2.9 lakh passengers affected by the delays.

With inputs from PTI

Published on January 20, 2020
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