Economy

Omicron impact: Domestic air traffic nosedives week-on-week in January

Abhishek Law | | Updated on: Jan 20, 2022
Fears over the Omicron variant have led to a sharp decline in daily passenger count between December 2021 and January 2022

Fears over the Omicron variant have led to a sharp decline in daily passenger count between December 2021 and January 2022 | Photo Credit: VELANKANNI RAJ B

Number of daily fliers dropped to 1.92 lakh from 2.88 lakh within a week

Omicron-related mobility restrictions have led to a sharp week-on-week decline in daily fliers in the country.

Numbers from trade sources suggest there has been an over 33 per cent drop in average daily fliers in the second week of January, at 1.92 lakh, compared with 2.88 lakh in the first week (ending January 8).

Departures have declined by about 19 per cent — 2,101 in the second week from 2,594 the previous week.

Similarly, the number of fliers per departure has dropped to 91 in the week ending January 15, 2022, from 111 the previous week.

Rating agency ICRA anticipates 40–42 per cent drop in domestic passenger traffic month-on-month in January. It said domestic passenger traffic dipped 34 per cent during January 1–17, as against the same period last month. Domestic passenger traffic is likely to witness a month-on-month decline of 15–17 per cent in February, resulting in a temporary slowdown in recovery in Q4 FY22.

Renewed fears over the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 have led to a sharp decline in daily passenger count — from 3.55 lakh in December 2021 to 1.92 lakh during the week ending January 15, 2022, an ICICI Securities report said.

Changes in schedule

The country’s largest low-cost airline, IndiGo, confirmed it was operating 1,200-1,300 flights daily (against 1,500 a month ago) on select routes — a 20 per cent fall.

According to Rikant Pittie, Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip, the portal has seen some rescheduling of tickets — trips due in January being changed to February. However, cancellations have “not been that high”. In fact, at least 15 per cent of the bookings for January have been rescheduled to February or further.

 Forward bookings, though lower than expected, saw a month-on-month growth for a 15-day period in January. 

“Advance bookings saw a 15 per cent growth on a 15-day basis, with a 40 per cent jump in queries. Cancellations are low and there is quite a bit of rescheduling,” he said.

Published on January 20, 2022
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