New Delhi: Indian air passenger traffic shrunk for the 10th consecutive month, dropping 3.36% in February, according to data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Air traffic fell in most months of the last calendar year as high fares and a slowing economy dented demand. The rise in fares was partly because of the grounding of Kingfisher Airlines Ltd since October, which reduced the number of flights.
India’s domestic airlines carried 4.89 million passengers in February, compared with 5.06 million in the year earlier, DGCA data show.
“Analysis of capacity and demand data on year-to-year basis indicates that both the capacity and demand showed declining trend,” DGCA said in its report for February released on Sunday.
In February, IndiGo continued to be the largest airline by market share at 27.4%, followed by SpiceJet Ltd (20.4%), Jet Airways (India) Ltd (19.1%), Air India Ltd (18.9%), and GoAir (7.8%). Jet Airways subsidiary Jet Konnect had a 6.3% share. Together they had a 25.4% market share.
February is one of the leanest month for Indian carriers with airlines offering cheaper fares.
In 2013, it was also a 28-day month unlike the 29-day month last year, said an airline executive who declined to be named.
“Also, there are at least 25 Kingfisher aircraft less in the market or about 120 flights out of the system. It is bound to show,” he said.
“The passenger load factor in the month of February 2013 has remained almost same compared to January 2013 except SpiceJet, which has shown appreciable increase. This is perhaps due to the fact that SpiceJet offered a short-term scheme on various sectors from 11-13 January 2013 for travel from February 2013 to April 2013,” DGCA said without mentioning that many other airlines also followed similar pricing after the SpiceJet sale was announced.