India’s domestic air passenger traffic crashed by over 57 percent in October on a year-on-year basis, as rising Covid-19 cases continued to disrupt the already heavily impacted sector. According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), passengers ferried by domestic airlines during October declined to 52.71 lakh as against 1.23 crore for the previous year’s corresponding period. “Passengers carried by domestic airlines during Jan-Oct 2020 were 493.31 lakh as against 1182.06 lakh during the corresponding period of the previous year, thereby registering an annual growth of ( -) 58.27 percent and monthly growth of (-) 57.2 percent,” the DGCA data report said.
Though the unlock phase and gradual opening up of the economy has improved air travel in subsequent months, it is still way below last year’s numbers. Against a drop in domestic passenger traffic to 22.65 lakh in the April-June quarter of the current year, passenger traffic rose to 88.82 in the July-September quarter. It is expected to rise in the October-December quarter depending on the progress in further checking the Covid pandemic.
The average load factor of nine domestic airlines, which operated flights during the month, was at 59.2 percent, with scheduled computer airline Star Air clocking the best Passenger Load Factor (PLF) at 71.6 percent. State-run helicopter operator, Pawan Hans Limited at the lowest PLF of at 21.9 % in the previous m Air India, flew with 4.94 lakh passengers during October. while Indigo, the largest carrier by market share, flew 29.7 lakh passengers passenger volume of SpiceJet and GoAir stood at 7.04 lakh and 3.95 lakh respectively during the month. AirAsia India carried 3.74 lakh passengers, while Vistara flew 3.39 lakh passengers per DGCA’s data. In terms of punctuality in operations, as much as 98% of Air Asia India flight from 4 key metro airports Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, departed and arrived on time. Air India had the lowest on-time performance from these airports at 90.7% during October DGCA data showed. “The passenger load factor in the month of October 2020 has shown some recovery due to increased demand after the opening of lockdown and onset of the festive season,” the DGCA report said. Almost all airlines saw a growth in passenger load factor in October as compared to the previous month barring Pawan Hans.