India’s domestic air travel industry is showing signs of recovery as air traffic numbers surpass pre-pandemic levels, according to recent data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). In April 2023, the number of passengers reached 12.89 million, slightly lower than March 2023 figures but a significant increase compared to April 2022 and April 2019, with a notable growth rate of 22 per cent.

IndiGo, the largest airline in India, experienced a boost in market share, reaching 57.5 per cent. In April, the low-cost carrier flew a total of 7.41 million passengers. IndiGo’s success can also be attributed to its impressive on-time performance (OTP) of 89.6 per cent, solidifying its position as a preferred choice for domestic travelers.

Vistara secured its position as the second-largest domestic carrier with an 8.7 per cent market share, flying 11.23 lakh passengers during the same period. However, Air India witnessed a slight decline in market share, falling by 20 basis points to 8.6 per cent. The carrier flew 11.13 lakh passengers in April. AirAsia India, another player in the market, maintained a stable market share of 7.6 per cent, serving 9.81 lakh passengers.

Spicejet slips

Meanwhile, SpiceJet faced challenges as it slipped to the sixth spot in terms of market share, accounting for only 5.8 per cent of the domestic market. The airline flew 7.41 lakh passengers in April, experiencing a decline of 60 basis points since March. Additionally, Go First, formerly known as GoAir, saw a decrease of 50 basis points, settling at a 6.4 per cent market share. The financial strain resulted in Go First suspending operations from May 3 onwards.

Passenger load factors, which indicate the occupancy rate, remained robust for several airlines. SpiceJet, Vistara, IndiGo, Air India, and AirAsia India reported load factors of 92.2 per cent, 92.1 per cent, 87.4 per cent, 87.9 per cent, and 89.4 per cent, respectively, in April. Go First recorded a load factor of 91.2 per cent.

Amidst the recovery, India welcomed a new player in the airline industry. Akasa Air, in its ninth month of operations, reported a rise in passenger load factor from 73.6 per cent in March to 84.9 per cent in April. The airline carried 5.13 lakh passengers, claiming a 4 per cent market share.

Despite the positive developments, there were still some areas for improvement. In April, a total of 360 passenger complaints were received, resulting in a complaint rate of 0.28 per 10,000 passengers carried.

Furthermore, Akasa Air achieved the best on-time performance for the second consecutive month, with an impressive rating of 94 per cent at major airports including Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai. Air India and IndiGo secured the second and third positions, respectively, followed by Vistara.