Skyrocketing airfares haven’t deterred domestic travelers from flying during the festival season despite some routes recording their steepest price hikes. While fares have gone up in the range of 35-70% year-on-year during September-November, air traffic rose by 15-20% during the same period.
Domestic air passenger traffic, which stood at 45.55 lakh passengers ferried, jumped by 13.4 % in September 2013, up from 40.18 lakh carried during the corresponding month last year, data furnished by the civil aviation ministry showed.
However, on a month-to-month basis, the traffic decreased by 13.4 % as domestic airlines carried 45.55 lakh passengers in September, down from 52.60 lakh in August 2013.
Market leader IndiGo carried 13.79 lakh domestic passengers during September 2013, said a spokesperson of the airline. According to DGCA data, 10.94 lakh passengers had traveled by the airline during September 2012. Air India carried 9.2 lakh domestic passengers, compared with 7.75 lakh during the same period. Jet (Jet Airways and JetLite) carried 11.2 lakh domestic passengers, compared with 9.6 lakh during the same period. Spice Jet carried 7.86 lakh domestic passengers, compared with 7.43 lakh during the same period. Go Air carried 3.42 lakh domestic passengers as compared to 3.07 lakh during the same period.
Air India’s domestic operations achieved the highest overall occupancy in September at 73.2 %, followed by IndiGo at 70.3 % and SpiceJet at 67.9 %, data from the ministry of civil aviation showed.
IndiGo led the market among scheduled domestic airlines with 30.3% of market share, Air India’s domestic operations (20.3%), Jet Airways (19.1%), SpiceJet (17.3%), Go Air (7.5%) and JetLite (5.5 %).
Meanwhile, several domestic sectors saw a double-digit growth in passengers during September 2013. For instance, Delhi-Goa route saw a 50% increase y-o-y), Delhi-Kochi 32%, Mumbai-Goa 28%, Delhi-Hyderabad 21%, Chennai-Delhi 21% and Bangalore-Kochi 16%.
Analysts say airlines are now passing their losses, which affected them during the past one year due to the tanking of the rupee (with 80% of their costs being dollar linked) and the rise of ATF costs, to their customers.
“While I haven’t corroborated the traffic data myself, the apparent ‘inelasticity’ would tend to be on account of this being the traditional festive and holiday season. Travellers may be bearing the price increases in view of their holiday travel plans,” Deloitte India director Peeyush Naidu said.
“Some amount of the fare increases may also have been anticipated after the recent fuel