It was a super Saturday for domestic airlines as they flew a record 456,748 passengers. This was 7.4 per cent higher than pre-Covid daily average. Previously, the highest single day passenger traffic was 456,082 recorded on April 30.

Until now passenger traffic demand in November has been subdued. In the first seven days of November traffic declined 3.5 per cent on a month on month basis forcing airlines to discount fares. But a combination of factors led to swelling of traffic numbers on Saturday. “Yesterday was one of those days when multiple events coincided,” remarked Dhruv Shringi , Co-founder and CEO of Yatra Online.

The post-holiday return traffic coupled with fans travelling to Ahmedabad for World Cup final and faithful heading to Patna and Ranchi for Chhath Puja contributed to the growth.

“High passenger volume was anticipated on Saturday with people returning home after Diwali break. Loads for Ahmedabad began picking up after India qualified for finals,” said an airline executive.

Domestic airlines operated around 20 extra flights to Ahmedabad over the weekend to cater to the fan rush. While Ahmedabad airport handled around 35,000 passengers a day during Diwali, it soared to around 37,000 on Friday. Traffic was expected to be higher on Saturday but exact figure was not available.

“A historic milestone for the Indian aviation sector. A testament to our resilience and strength to fight global challenges,” Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia posted on X (formerly twitter) about the record passenger traffic.

Domestic air traffic has grown 27 per cent on a year-on-year basis in first ten months of 2023. While airlines flew 98.8 million passengers between January-October 2022 this year airlines have carried 125.4 million over the same period.