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Airlines struggled to fill seats in May after restarting operations

Shortly after the meal service on the SriLankan Airlines’s Kochi-Colombo flight, the cabin crew noticed smoke emanating from an overhead luggage bin. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/MintPremium
Shortly after the meal service on the SriLankan Airlines’s Kochi-Colombo flight, the cabin crew noticed smoke emanating from an overhead luggage bin. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

  • IndiGo registered a 52.6% load factor in May, meaning it could fill only about one of every two seats it offered
  • SpiceJet, which has a market share of 17.1%, registered a 57.2% load factor during May

NEW DELHI : Indian airlines, which resumed domestic air services from 25 May, struggled to fill seats in the last seven days of the month, monthly data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) showed.

India’s largest airline IndiGo, which had 50.6% market share in May, registered a 52.6% load factor in the month. This means that the airline could fill only about one of every two seats offered to passengers, according to the data. Load factor, also known as passenger load factor, is an airline industry metric that measures how much of an airline’s passenger carrying capacity is used.

SpiceJet Ltd, which has a market share of 17.1%, registered a 57.2% load factor during May. Air India Ltd’s domestic operations registered a 54% load factor during the month and a market share of 17.3%.

Meanwhile, Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, reported a 44.1% load factor, and 6.5% market share. AirAsia India, a joint venture between Tata Sons and AirAsia Berhad, reported a 46% load factor and 7.8% market share during the month. No data was available for GoAir, which resumed services on 1 June.

The government began a nationwide lockdown, including suspension of flight operations, on 25 March to contain the covid-19 pandemic. Domestic air passenger traffic declined by 43.39% year-on-year during the January-May 2020 period, compared to the year-ago period.

Domestic airlines carried 33.2 million passengers between January and May 2020 against 58.6 million during the corresponding period of previous year, the DGCA data showed.

Air India carried 49,000 passengers during May, IndiGo 142,000, SpiceJet 48,000, AirAsia India 22,000, and Vistara 18,000, according to data.

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