Domestic air traffic rises 6% in July as aviation sector tries to take off

Domestic flights resumed on May 25 after a two-month suspension. Demand remains weak and a majority of tickets are for one-way trips and booked closer to travel date
Domestic air traffic grew 6 per cent in July on a month-on-month (MoM) basis amid decline in seat occupancy and restrictions on flight movements in Kolkata.

While the number of flights increased in July, compared to June, industrywide load factor declined to 52.7 per cent in July, from 54.8 per cent in June. Airlines flew 2.1 million in passengers in July, against 1.9 million passengers in June.

On a year-on-year basis, air traffic fell 82 per cent as total flight movements continue to be around 30 per cent of normal levels.

Among airports, Delhi saw big gains. Delhi airport handled 23 per cent of total passengers handled by all Indian airports — a rise from 18 per cent in pre-pandemic times. This is the highest passenger share handled by any Indian airport after resumption of domestic air services, the airport operator said.

IndiGo’s market share crossed the 60-per cent mark for the first time. Its share increased from 52.8 per cent to 60.4 per cent on a MoM basis, while those of other airlines declined in the same period.

Domestic flights resumed on May 25 after a two-month suspension. Demand remains weak and a majority of tickets are for one-way trips and booked closer to travel date.

Sources said traffic growth was modest due to suspension of flights for a few days in Kolkata in the last week of July. Moreover, Mumbai and Chennai continue to see restrictions on total movements. “There will be improvement in business once restrictions ease,” said an executive from a private airline.

Cancellation rates also remained high. Vistara cancelled 22 per cent of its flights, while Air India and AirAsia cancelled 12 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively, of their flights in July.

Sources said Vistara had cancelled a large number of flights to smaller stations due very low demand. “These were not for technical reasons. The flights were cancelled 72 hours before departure and passengers were given the option to reschedule their journey,” an executive said.

Vistara shares all data with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, according to the regulator’s guidelines. We have substantially stabilised our network, which would significantly reduce our cancellations as well. Our steadfast effort remains on providing a safe and hassle-free flying experience to customers,” an airline spokesperson said.

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