India maintained double-digit growth in domestic air traffic for the 43rd straight month in March, growing by 27.9 per cent against an average global domestic demand of 7.8 per cent in the previous month, propelled by route network expansion by local airlines. Besides, India also reported the highest load factor among the seven major global aviation markets at (87.8 per cent, an increase of 6.7 per cent over March 2017, International Air Transport Association (IATA) said today. The over 280-member strong airlines grouping IATA collates traffic data from seven major aviation markets, the US, Russia, China, India, Japan, Australia and Brazil, each month. India market posted double-digit annual growth for the 43rd consecutive month at 27.9, up from 22.9 per cent in February, with passenger demand continuing to be supported by a combination of strong economic and network growth, IATA said.
India also posted the highest load factor of all domestic markets (87.8 per cent), which was 6.7 percentage points higher than the seat factor recorded by the airlines in March 2017, it added. The seat factor is a measure of how much of an airline’s passenger carrying capacity is used or average percentage of seats filled in an aircraft. According to IATA, the overall air traffic (international and domestic) rose 9.5 per cent, compared to the same period a year ago, the fastest pace in 12 months.
Domestic demand rose 7.8 per cent in March, which was a slight deceleration from 8.2 per cent growth recorded in February, driven primarily by developments in the US market, it said. The international passenger demand during the month rose 10.6 per cent compared to March 2017, which was up from 7.4 per cent year-over-year growth recorded in February. All regions showed strong increases, IATA said.
“Demand for air travel remains strong, supported by the comparatively healthy economic backdrop and business confidence levels. But rising cost inputs, particularly fuel prices, suggest that any demand boosts from lower fares will moderate going into the second quarter,” IATA’s director general and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac said. The strong first quarter provides healthy momentum heading into the peak travel period in the northern hemisphere, he said adding benign economic conditions are supporting, and being supported by good demand for air travel.