Domestic air travel demand surged nearly 17 per cent in November to 10.48 million passengers over the year-ago period on the back of festive season demand and addition of new flights and routes, the DGCA data shows. Domestic carriers flew a total of 10.48 million passengers in November, compared to 8.96 million in November 2016, thereby registering a growth of 16.99 per cent, according to the DGCA monthly traffic data released today. The passenger load factor, which is a measure of how full the plane flies, has shown an increasing trend in November compared to previous month primarily due to the ongoing tourist season, the DGCA said. November is also the month when airlines’ winter schedule comes into full effect, during which carriers announce new flights and routes besides adding frequencies. Significantly, market leader IndiGo, which accounted for a little over 39 per cent (4.13 million) of the total domestic traffic in November, slipped to second position in on-time performance (OTP) with rival SpiceJet delivering the highest OTP at 81.9 per cent from four major metro airports, as per the data. Besides, SpiceJet also clocked a seat factor of over 90 per cent for the 32nd consecutive month at 95.5 per cent in November. “Our on-time performance at 81.9 per cent was the best of all airlines in India. SpiceJet also recorded the highest load factor for the 32nd month in a row. The load factor at 95.5 per cent is also the highest in SpiceJet’s history. This has set a new threshold in global aviation and we are proud of that,” SpiceJet chairman and MD Ajay Singh said in a statement.
OTP of an airline is measured from the time an aircraft gets detached from an aerobridge or step ladder for the push back at the departing airport to the time it gets attached to an aerobridge or step ladder at the arriving airport. At present DGCA publishes monthly on-time performance of domestic airlines from four metro airports–Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Naresh Goyal-promoted Jet Airways’ OTP hit rock bottom in November as nearly half (54.1 per cent) of its flights along with subsidiary JetLite)failed to depart or arrive at their destinations on time, DGCA November data shows. Regional carrier TrueJet cancelled the highest number of flights among all the 12 domestic carriers while disinvestment-bound national carrier Air India saw the maximum number of passengers complaints against its services during the month.