India’s domestic passenger traffic growth slowed in March to 14.6 per cent from 17 per cent reported in February, a global airline association said on Thursday. According to the data furnished by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the acceleration in India’s passenger traffic growth was the slowest since September 2015.
“This is the first possible sign of reduced cash supply and wider economic uncertainty weighing on demand,” IATA said in its passenger traffic analysis for March 2017. “That said, some context is needed: March was the 31st consecutive month in with domestic passenger volumes grew at a double-digit annual pace. Moreover, airlines are now scheduling a nine per cent increase in domestic routes in 2017.”
Subsequently, India’s domestic revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) growth rate came down to the third position among major aviation markets like Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, Russia and the US. India had topped the domestic charts for the highest growth rates for 23 months in a row.
The IATA data showed that India’s domestic RPK — which measures actual passenger traffic — rose by 14.6 per cent in March compared to the corresponding month of the previous year. The growth in India’s domestic passenger traffic was preceded by that of China at 15.1 per cent and Russia at 14.8 per cent. It was followed by Japan at 7.8 per cent, Brazil at 5.9 per cent, US at 3.4 per cent and Australia at 0.9 per cent.
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India’s domestic ASK — which measures available passenger capacity — edged higher by 13.5 per cent in March, preceded by only Russia at 18 per cent. In addition, the association reported that global RPK rose 6.8 per cent during the month under review compared to the March 2016. The association added that the global ASK edged up by 6.1 per cent.
“Strong traffic demand continued throughout the first quarter, supported by a combination of lower fares and a broad-based upturn in global economic conditions,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and Chief Executive Officer, IATA.
“The price of air travel has fallen by around 10 per cent in real terms over the past year and that has contributed to record load factors.”