NEW DELHI : Domestic airlines carried a record 13 million passengers in March, up by over 11% compared to the corresponding month of 2018 and 2019, according to Directorate General of Civil Aviation data.Air passenger traffic for the month was also 7% higher than February, and 21% from a year ago, the data showed.
Domestic air travel demand has been on an upward trajectory since December, showing signs of higher air travel penetration in India. “We had crossed pre-covid highs of 420,000. Now, we are at about 456,000. We are in off high season, but are averaging daily air passengers of 370,000-440,000 over the past month. The way I look at it, in October, we will be at new highs again. So, we have got to plan for October,” Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Union minister for civil aviation, said last week.
Akasa Air, India’s youngest airline, surpassed its old competitors in a on-time performance and was the most punctual airline with on-time performance of 94.2%, followed by IndiGo at 92%, and Vistara at 83.7%. At the fourt spot was Air India at 82.1%, followed by AirAsia India (76.6%), Alliance Air (69.1%), and SpiceJet was at (63.6%). The worst performer was GoFIRST at 49.2%.
As along as a flight arrives within 15 minutes of its scheduled arrival time, it is considered on-time. However, all major airlines witnessed a dip in passenger load factor, or capacity utilization, indicating that they operated more flights in March compared to February.While IndiGo’s passenger load factor fell to 84% from 86.5% during the period, and SpiceJet’s was at 92.3% in March from 94.1% in February. Air India’s capacity utilization fell to 85.1% from 89% and Vistara’s was down from 92.8% to 91.6%. Akasa’s passenger load factor declined to 73.6% in March from 83.7% in the previous month. IndiGo continued to be the market leader in India, with a 56.8% share, Vistara (8.9%) and Air India (8.8%). AirAsia India was the fourth largest airline, according to March data, with a 7.6% share. GoFIRST was at 6.9% and SpiceJet at 6.4%. Akasa Air, which started operations last August, has attained a 3.3% share in the domestic market, and is also looking to launch its international operations later this year.