The Indian aviation industry has crossed the 4 lakh domestic air passengers a day mark on Saturday, which is the highest since April. Airlines carried 405,963 passengers, which amounted to about 95.48 per cent of pre-Covid-19 daily domestic air passenger traffic. Indian carriers flew 2,767 flights, or 88.29 per cent of the approved schedule.
On April 17, Indian airlines crossed the mark of 4,00,000 domestic air passengers in a day for the first time since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The airlines carried 4,07,975 passengers on 2,838 flights, which amounts to about 95.5 per cent of pre-Covid-19 daily domestic air passenger traffic.
During the festival season, on October 9, the aviation ministry said that 4,02,697 passengers flew within the country that day on 2,732 domestic flights.
Interestingly, on November 26, Indian airlines operated fewer flights than in April, when passenger traffic peaked at over 4 lakh prior to this. This means that the passenger load factor was higher on Saturday compared to April.
GoFirst’s flights were 95.6 per cent full, followed by SpiceJet’s passenger load factor of 95.3 per cent. Tata Group’s airlines too carried flights filled to the north of 90 per cent. Air India carried 94.5 per cent of full flights, Vistara 92.9 per cent, and Air Asia India carried 91.6 per cent of full flights. IndiGo’s PLF was the lowest at 89.2 per cent.
It is worthy to note that the Ministry of Civil Aviation has not indicated Akasa’s load factor; however, the total air passenger numbers are likely to include Akasa.
Data from April revealed that SpiceJet had the highest PLF load factor, followed by GoFirst, Air India, IndiGo, Vistara, and Air Asia India.
IndiGo reported a load factor of 88.2 per cent, Air India’s was 89.7 per cent, Spice Jet was at 93.7 per cent, Go First was at 90.4 per cent), Vistara was at 87.2 per cent) and Air Asia India was at 87.1 per cent, according to the Aviation Ministry’s data.
In a recent report, a quick recovery in domestic passenger traffic is expected in FY23, aided by normalcy in operations and the waning pandemic. However, the earnings recovery for domestic airlines will be slow-paced due to elevated ATF prices in addition to the rupee’s depreciation against the US dollar amid a heightened competitive environment.
In a recent report, Suprio Banerjee, Vice President & Sector Head – Corporate Ratings, ICRA Ltd, explained that the domestic aviation industry continues to witness recovery, with domestic passenger traffic for October 2022 estimated at 114 lakh, 10 per cent higher compared to 103 lakh in September 2022, and 26 per cent higher in comparison to the domestic passenger traffic in October 2021, although it fell short by 8 per cent, compared to pre-Covid levels, i.e., September 2019.
For 7M FY2023 (April-October 2022), domestic passenger traffic is estimated at 740 lakh, a YoY growth of 91 per cent, and lower by 11 per cent compared to April-October 2019 (pre-covid levels).
Keeping that in mind, a quick recovery in domestic passenger traffic is expected in FY2023, aided by normalcy in operations and the waning pandemic. However, the earnings recovery for domestic airlines will be slow-paced due to elevated ATF prices in addition to the rupee’s depreciation against the US dollar amid a heightened competitive environment.