Domestic air traffic growth slows to 12.4% in July

Domestic air traffic rose 12.4 per cent in July- the slowest in 2017- on the back of slower capacity addition and grounding of eight planes by IndiGo, the largest domestic airline.

Carriers flew 9.5 million passengers last month as against 8.5 million passengers in the same month last year.

IndiGo leads the domestic market with 38.7 market share but its share declined by 1.3 percentage points over June due to limited capacity addition and flight cancellations last month.

On an average IndiGo has been inducting 2-3 planes each month but last month it added only one A320 aircraft. Also, the carrier has been forced to ground eight Airbus A320Neo planes due to issues related to their engines. Capacity addition by other airlines too is said to be limited.

IndiGo has been forced to curtail its schedule after eight of its Airbus A320neo planes were grounded due to engine-related issues. The airline has been operating around 80 fewer flights each day till September as a result of the grounding.

"Our schedule was planned in the month of June itself pertaining to the non-availability of these aircraft for the month of July, August and September. The affected passengers have already been accommodated with suitable options," IndiGo said in a statement.

"Four of IndiGo's A320Neo aircraft are grounded due to the engines being stuck at customs. We are awaiting certain clarifications following the implementation of GST, which has led to unplanned flight cancellations," the airline added.

IndiGo has a fleet of 135 planes and operates over 930 flights daily.

Air traffic grew 25 per cent in January but growth slowed down in subsequent months. In fact, the growth has been sub-20 per cent since January. On a year-to-date basis, traffic rose 17 per cent.

"Last month airlines flew over one million more passengers than July 2016. This is still significant considering July is a lean month. Schools reopen in Delhi and North India in early July and we see a dip in leisure travel in the month. The growth momentum remains strong and we see a good growth in August with long weekends," said Sharat Dhall, president of

SpiceJet recorded a load factor of 94.4 per cent, followed by AirAsia and Vistara that had an occupancy of 88 and 84 per cent respectively.

"This is the 28th month in a row that SpiceJet has flown with load factors in excess of 90 per cent, a feat unparalleled in global aviation history, which firmly establishes our standing as the country's favourite airline," said Shilpa Bhatia, Senior VP, Commercial, SpiceJet.

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