Domestic air passenger traffic grows 17% to 11.35 million in August

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New Delhi | Published: September 25, 2018 2:50:36 AM

The top five airlines — IndiGo, Jet Airways, Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir — flew with load factors between 80.6% and 93.6%.

Domestic air passenger traffic grows 17% to 11.35 million in August

The demand for air travel continues to be high, with airlines reporting a 17.1% year-on-year jump in domestic passenger traffic in August. According to the data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday, airlines carried 11.35 million passengers last month as fares remain subdued compared with year-ago period.

Indian airlines had flown nearly 9.69 million passengers in August 2017 at a 15.6% Y-o-Y growth.

The average ticket prices on key metro routes like Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Bengaluru, Delhi-Chennai were down by up to 10% Y-o-Y during August 2018. Demand is high because airlines have so far not raised fares though the fuel cost has risen by 35% Y-o-Y.

Carriers have been adding new routes in their network, thereby creating more capacity, with demand remaining high. However, the passenger load factor (PLF) for individual airlines was down between 1% and 11% Y-o-Y, highlighting faster capacity expansion than the passenger traffic. Air India was the only one to report an increase in PLF – up 8% Y-o-Y due to better route management.

The top five airlines — IndiGo, Jet Airways, Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir — flew with load factors between 80.6% and 93.6%.

SpiceJet continued to remain in pole position among all key scheduled carriers at 93.6%, but down 1% Y-o-Y. GoAir recorded a PLF of 84.6%, followed by market leader IndiGo (82.8%) and Jet Airways (80.6%) – all witnessing a dip of around 1% Y-o-Y. Tata Sons joint ventures – Air Asia and Vistara – recorded occupancy of 76.2% and 81.5%, down 11% and 2%, respectively.

“Our analysis say August fares were down up to 5% year-on-year. Airlines have lost ability to price tickets higher. Things are likely to improve from the festival season onwards. The DGCA data suggest that capacity has gone up faster than the passenger traffic which is evident from the marginal dip in the load factors,” Balu Ramachandran, head – air and distribution, Cleartrip, said.

Experts also say inundation of the Kochi international airport did not have a major impact on the domestic passenger growth. The airport remained closed between August 15 and 28 due to unprecedented floods in the southern state. Airlines had used nearby Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode airports to serve passengers.

The market share of scheduled carriers remained similar, with IndiGo leading with 41.9%. It carried 4.75 million passengers in August. Jet flew 1.72 million, having a 15.2% market share, while Air India had a market share of 12.7% with 1.44 million travellers. SpiceJet was fourth with 1.4 million passengers and a 12.4% market share. Wadia Group-owned GoAir saw 1.01 million customer bookings with an 8.9% market share.

Air Asia served 0.53 million domestic passengers, settling at a 4.7% market share, while Vistara bagged 3.7% market share with 0.42 million passengers during last month.

The industry expects the growth momentum to continue in the upcoming festive season.

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