Home / Companies / News /  Domestic air passenger traffic in November grows at fastest pace in 2019

NEW DELHI : Domestic air passenger traffic for November grew at the fastest pace in 2019, a year in which air travel has been hit by the twin blows of the closure of Jet Airways India Ltd and an economic slowdown.

Indian airlines carried 12.95 million people in November, up 11.2% year-on-year. This was the fastest growth recorded since December last year, according to data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Domestic passenger traffic growth in November was led by SpiceJet, which carried two million passengers in the month, a jump of 43% year-on-year, while India’s largest airline IndiGo carried six million passengers, up 21%.

GoAir’s passenger traffic increased 39.5% to 1.4 million, while that of Air India increased by 10% to 1.5 million.

“The growth has likely come at the cost of pricing weakness that continued into November," SBI Capital Markets said, referring to the low fares offered by most carriers to encourage more people to fly amid the economic downturn. Those fares helped fill more aircraft seats, especially with the onset of the tourist season.

Ticket prices have been down for a few months, including October, when there was both Dussehra and Diwali.

The weakness in ticket prices reflects the slowdown in the economy, similar to what has been seen in various other sectors. “An improvement in the economy will hold the key to pricing and thereby profitability," SBI Capital said in a note on Thursday.

Low ticket prices and the onset of the festival season led to passenger load factor—the proportion of seats filled in a plane—for InterGlobe Aviation Ltd’s IndiGo improving by 6 percentage points month-on-month to 91.4%.

GoAir and SpiceJet’s passenger load factor rose by 10 percentage points and 3 percentage points, respectively, to 93% each.

Vistara, Air Asia and Air India also recorded higher passenger load factors in November at 84%, 87% and 83% respectively.

The jump in air passenger volumes have also come as the combined capacity of airlines rebounded recently after dropping in the wake of the closure of Jet Airways in April.

All major airlines except Air India have seen an increase in market share this year following Jet AIrways’ exit.

The market share of no-frills airlines IndiGo and SpiceJet increased to 47.5% and 16.1% respectively, in November.

Wadia Group’s GoAir had a market share of 11%, while Tata group’s joint venture airlines Air Asia India and Vistara had market shares of 6.8% and 5.9% respectively. Air India’s market share has remained at 12% since the start of the year.

In terms of on-time performance, GoAir topped the charts at the four major airports of Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai, with Vistara, Air Asia and IndiGo following closely, and Air India being the least punctual.

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