Home / Companies / News /  Air traffic sees uptick as festival season starts

Domestic air traffic in September rose by nearly 2% as compared to August, government data showed. The last week of September marked the onset of the festival season with Navratri celebrations in different parts of the country. This has led to a surge in air travel on account of rise in travellers visiting family and friends.

The domestic air traffic rose by 2% to 10.3 million passengers in September, data released by the ministry of civil aviation showed. The average daily flight departures or capacity deployment also rose by 1.3% on month to over 2,600 departures in September.

This has taken the average number of daily domestic traffic to more than 3.4 lakh passengers in September, from around 3.3 lakh passengers in August.

Analysts expect the domestic air traffic to further surge in October. In fact, the month has already begun on a positive sentiment. On October 1, domestic air traffic stood at 386,612 passengers or at 96.6% of pre-covid level. Flight departures on October 1 stood at 2,708 flights or 93.4% of pre-covid level. These numbers are significantly higher than the average daily traffic and flight departures seen in August and September.

“There is a strong expectation that the demand will strengthen in this month on the back of multiple festivals such as Dusshera and Diwali. Travel will increase as people visit their home-towns and even plan vacations during this break. Airlines have the capacity to cater to this demand as the capacity utilisation levels are still below pre-covid levels," an analyst said.

The removal of fare caps with effect from August 31 has so far worked in favour of the customer as the fare levels are still lower than the highs witnessed when the fare caps were in place. “So far, there is a marginal increase in fares around the main festival days but broadly, the fares have decreased," another analyst said.

The entry of Akasa Air on several routes and increased competition among existing players have led to fare wars and while this would help the demand to sustain, it remains to be seen how the yield levels are likely to be impacted for the airlines.

“Given the uptick in economic activity as well as the expected traffic ramp-up in the coming months ahead of the festive and the vacation season, the passenger traffic is expected to sustain a healthy growth momentum,“ Rajeshwar Burla, Group Head, Corporate Ratings, ICRA, said in a recent note. He added that the passenger traffic is expected to surpass pre-covid levels in the ensuing 12-month period (Sep-22 to Aug-23).

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