Domestic air passenger traffic rises 24% in Feb; regional carriers falter

Domestic airlines registered about 24.14% growth in passengers flown during February compared to that a year ago, data released by the aviation regulator showed. As per the data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday, Indian carriers carried 10.7 million passengers during the month, up from 8.6 million in February 2017. 

However, two new airlines, Air Deccan and Air Odisha, faced hiccups in their initial stages of operation. While Air Odisha cancelled 84 per cent of their flights, Air Deccan cancelled around 35 per cent of their flights. The two new airlines together have bid for the highest number of routes in the government’s regional connectivity scheme UDAN. 

Key scheduled carriers flew their planes with over 80% of their seats full. Gurgaon-based SpiceJet continued to maintain its pole position in terms of load factor by flying its planes 96.3% full, followed by IndiGo which flew its planes with 91.8% seats full despite problems with its Airbus 320 (neo) aircraft. 

Vistara’s load factor also improved touching 91.2% seats full- highest ever by the airline. 

“We had a very good month in February across many dimensions, and are gratified that we are becoming the airline of choice for more and more flyers despite being a premium airline in a price sensitive market. It shows there is a strong market segment for a superior customer experience. The more people who fly us, the greater the word of mouth, and greater the demand for our product," said Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara. 

In terms of operating flights on time, Jet Airways remained the worst performer for the fifth consecutive month. While Jet Airways operated 62.2% of its flights on time, SpiceJet topped the list by operating 78% of its flights on time. IndiGo was second, having operated 74.8% of its flights on time. 

“SpiceJet has yet again put up an exceptional operational performance by clocking the best on-time performance (78%) amongst all airlines and the highest passenger load factor (96.3%). This is our highest ever load factor and comes in the traditionally lean travel month of February. For 35 months in a row our loads have been in excess of 90% --- a feat unparalleled in the aviation industry,” SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh said in a statement.

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