Indian airlines will operate a total of 23,403 flights per week during the upcoming winter schedule, from October 27 to March 28, 1.2 per cent higher than last year’s winter schedule. The contained growth is mainly on account of larger airlines simply filling in the gap left by the collapse of Jet Airways.
“Due to the sudden suspension of operations by Jet Airways, approximately 3,600 departures per week were reduced from scheduled domestic aviation,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said in a statement.
During last year’s winter schedule, Jet Airways, along with its low-cost subsidiary JetLite, operated a total of 3,596 flights every week. The airline operated its last flight on April 17 and went into bankruptcy proceedings later due to a funding crunch.
The highest growth over last year’s schedule in percentage terms was witnessed by full-service carrier Vistara, which will operate 1,376 flights per week compared with 838 flights a week last year, representing a growth rate of 64.2 per cent. This was followed by SpiceJet that saw growth of 46 per cent and will operate 4,316 flights per week during the upcoming winter schedule. Market leader IndiGo will operate 10,310 flights a week, compared to 9,030 flights last year, whereas Air India will have 2,254 domestic departures every week, compared to 1,916 in the previous winter schedule.
Together, the airlines will operate out of 103 airports, including new ones such as Pithoragarh and Hindon. According to the data released by the DGCA on Thursday, the domestic air passenger traffic this September increased by just 1.18 per cent, compared to the same month last year, indicating further slowdown in the aviation sector.
DGCA chief Arun Kumar said on Thursday: “The numbers are disappointing. They have pulled down our projection (for 2018-19) … to 4-6 per cent. The good news is that we have managed to withstand the sad exit of Jet Airways and maintained a positive growth despite three months of negative or almost flat growth”. “The loss in fleet on account of Jet Airways has largely been recovered and we expect an all time high fleet of more than 616 aircraft in the air in a month’s time from now. With some more aircraft joining our fleet by December 31, we expect a return to double-digit growth in the early part of next year,” he added.