Domestic air traffic in April sees sharpest drop in 5 yrs

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Published: May 23, 2019 4:27:17 PM

The huge dip in domestic capacities propelled IndiGo to its highest-ever market share of 49.9%. Budget carrier SpiceJet was also operating with less aircraft as it was forced to pull down 12 Boeing 737 MAX over safety concerns on March 12.

In terms of passenger load factor, all scheduled carriers reported a drop in seat occupancy between 2.8 to 4.1 percentage points.

Domestic air traffic in April dipped 4.5% year-on-year — the sharpest decline in at least five years — owing to complete grounding of Jet Airways.
The passenger count slumped to 10.99 million during April 2019 from 11.51 million exactly a year ago, according to the monthly passenger data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday. Jet, which possessed a fleet of 119 aircraft at the end of December 2018, faced regular groundings since February this year because of non-payment of rentals to lessors before suspending all operations on April 17 as lenders refused to provide any emergency funding.

The huge dip in domestic capacities propelled IndiGo to its highest-ever market share of 49.9%. Budget carrier SpiceJet was also operating with less aircraft as it was forced to pull down 12 Boeing 737 MAX over safety concerns on March 12.

The aviation market in India recorded double-digit growth for 52 consecutive months before falling to 9.1% in January owing to financial turmoil at Jet and airlines prioritising yields by raising fares. Since then, the domestic market expanded at 5.6% y-o-y and 0.1% y-o-y during February and March, respectively.

In terms of market share, budget carrier IndiGo’s 49.9% market share was 10.1 percentage points higher over April last year. Jet, which was the second largest domestic carrier till January 2019, held just 1% share of the domestic market.

SpiceJet, Air India, GoAir, AirAsia and Vistara also gained a marginal hold over the market at the expense of Jet. While SpiceJet increased its market share to 13.1% in April 2019 from 12.4% exactly a year ago, Air India recorded a 13.9% market share last month against 13.3% in April 2018. Wadia group-owned GoAir witnessed an increase in the market share from 8.8% to 10.8%, while Tata group joint venture airlines AirAsia and Vistara gained share to 6.2% and 4.7% from 5% and 4%, respectively.

In terms of passenger load factor, all scheduled carriers reported a drop in seat occupancy between 2.8 to 4.1 percentage points.

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