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NEW DELHI: Indian airlines carried 6.35 million passengers during November, down about 51% year-on-year, due to travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Passenger traffic, however, rose sequentially with more people taking to the skies during November than the previous month. Scheduled commercial airlines had flown 5.27 million passengers during October.

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The government also allowed airlines in India to sell seats up to 70% of an aircraft’s capacity on domestic flights during November, which was subsequently raised to 80% in early December, thus boosting travel.

Scheduled international commercial flights, however, remain suspended at least till 31 December.

Passenger load factor (PLF) of major scheduled commercial airlines was at 66-77% during November, higher than 61-74% reported during October, but way below the 77-92% PLF recorded by airlines in the year-ago period. PLF, or load factor, measures the capacity utilization of transport services, including airlines.

In November, India’s largest airline IndiGo recorded a 53.9% market share and a 74% load factor, carrying 3.42 million passengers during the month.

SpiceJet, with a market share of 13.2%, registered a 77.7% load factor, ferrying 0.84 million passengers.

Air India’s domestic load factor was at 69.6%, with a market share of 10.3%. The national carrier ferried 0.66 million passengers during the reporting month.

Vistara, the joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, reported a load factor of 70.8% and a 6.3% market share, while AirAsia India, a Tata Sons-AirAsia Berhad venture, reported 66.3% load factor and a 6.6% market share during the period.

GoAir, controlled by the Wadia Group, reported a 70.8% load factor and a 9.1% market share. During November, Vistara carried about 0.40 million passengers, while AirAsia India 0.42 million passengers and GoAir carried about 0.58 million people.

Around 55.68 million passengers were carried by domestic airlines during January-November compared with 131.15 million in the year-ago period, registering a decline of 57.54%.

During November, Air India cancelled 2.37% of its flights, while the overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines was at 1.27%. Most cancellations were due to weather-related and commercial reasons.

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