India's domestic air passenger traffic up 28% to 11.5 mn in March

SpiceJet had the highest passenger load factor during March

Domestic air passenger traffic rose to 11.5 million in March 2018 -- up 28.03 per cent -- from 9.045 million reported during the corresponding month of 2017, official data showed on Wednesday.

The total domestic air passenger traffic had risen to 10.7 million in February.

Data furnished by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) revealed that passenger traffic during the January-March 2018 period grew by 23.87 per cent.

"Passengers carried by domestic airlines during January-March 2018 were 33.79 million as against 27.279 million during the corresponding period of previous year thereby registering a growth of 23.87 per cent," the DGCA said in its monthly domestic traffic report.

According to the data, low-cost carrier SpiceJet had the highest passenger load factor (PLF) -- a measure of capacity utilisation of the airline -- at 95 per cent during March.

"SpiceJet has yet again recorded the highest PLF in the industry. Clocking 95 per cent occupancy in the traditionally lean travel month of March is an achievement that we are proud of," said Shilpa Bhatia, Chief Sales and Revenue Officer, SpiceJet.

"For three years in a row, SpiceJet has flown with the highest load factors in the Indian aviation market. For 35 months in a row our loads have been in excess of 90 per cent --- a feat unparalleled in global aviation history and a milestone that we are proud of."

SpiceJet was followed by IndiGo with a PLF of 89 per cent and GoAir at 88 per cent.

"The passenger load factor in the month of March 2018 has shown decreasing trend compared to previous month due to end of vacation period of various sectors," the monthly statistical analysis said.

The data noted that IndiGo led the industry with 84.1 per cent punctuality rate (on-time performance) at the four major airports of Bengaluru, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. It was followed by SpiceJet (83.9), Vistara (83) and Air India's domestic operations (76.5).

The overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines for March 2018 stood at 1.38 per cent.

In addition, the data disclosed that a total of 657 passenger-related complaints were received last month.

"The number of complaints per 10,000 passengers carried for the month of March 2018 has been around 0.57," the monthly analysis said.

The data revealed that IndiGo led the industry with the highest market share of 39.5 per cent, followed by Jet Airways (15), Air India (13.4), SpiceJet (12.7), and GoAir (9).

AirAsia India had a market share of 4.5 per cent, followed by Vistara (3.8), JetLite (1.6) and Trujet (0.4).

Commenting on March's passenger traffic Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C) of Yatra.com said: "Even though the passenger load factor has dipped compared to previous months, it is still close to 90 per cent for most of the major carriers."

"The M-o-M growth of 28.03 per cent in March shows a continuing positive momentum in the domestic air market, even in a traditionally lean travel period... We believe that this record growth will continue as we approach the summer holiday season, which is one of the strongest periods for travel in the year."