Domestic airlines carry 300,000 passengers; festivals prompt travel

Airlines flew more than 300,000 passengers inside India on Saturday: the first time they carried that many since February as Navaratri and Durga Puja festivals prompt travel.

Domestic airlines operated 2,340 flights carrying 304,020 passengers on Saturday, according to data released by the civil aviation ministry.  

Weekend travel resulted in long queues at some airports. Mumbai airport advanced the reopening of its Terminal 1 to Wednesday next week, reacting to the rush on Friday.

Thomas Cook said the festive season has turned out to be a demand driver. Demand is five times higher on a year-on-year basis: comprising leisure and visiting-family-and-relatives segment, it said.

"Air travel bookings in India have witnessed traction especially on the weekends in major metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore etc. wherein travellers are booking tickets for either connecting flights to smaller non-metro cities or to visit other destinations for festive season travel. We  have witnessed a surge in booking enquiries of 35-40 per cent for key metro city airports specifically," said a spokesperson for, the online ticketing company  .

"The bookings for the festive season have seen a 60-80 per cent spike across destinations. From a destination perspective, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad and Bangalore have emerged as top destinations on our platform,'" said Prahlad Krishnamurti, chief business officer at Cleartrip, another online ticketing company.

The civil aviation ministry last month allowed airlines to increase capacity up to 85 per cent. Airlines are currently operating at 70-75 per capacity and are seeing an increase in passenger loads. Increase in vaccination too has helped boost travel sentiment.

"The pickup in demand is a good sign. On weekends the average passenger loads are around 75-80 per cent now," said a senior airline executive.

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