Following a dip in April, domestic air passenger traffic saw a rebound in May increasing 2.96 per cent year-on-year, according to data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). This was the first full month after Jet Airways suspended operations. In April, domestic air passenger traffic had dropped by 4.5 per cent over the same month last year.
Suspension of operations by Jet Airways on April 17 due to lack of funds was considered to be one of the primary reasons why domestic air traffic saw a fall in that month. IndiGo, which had a market share of 49.9 per cent in April, maintained its lead position with 49 per cent share of the domestic passenger market in May. Experts believe that the airline will become subject to greater regulatory scrutiny from the Competition Commission of India once its market share crosses 50 per cent.
SpiceJet’s market share increased from 13.1 per cent in April to 14.8 per cent in May, giving it the number two spot, as per the data. The market share of Air India, GoAir, AirAsia and Vistara were 13.5 per cent, 11.1 per cent, 6.3 per cent and 4.7 per cent, respectively, in May this year.
The passenger load factor (PLF) – which is measured by dividing the number of passengers to the number of available seats in a flight – for SpiceJet was 93.9 per cent in May, as per the data. “For the 50th month in a row SpiceJet has flown with the highest loads in India. In May, our PLF stood at 93.9 per cent. This is a feat unparalleled in global aviation industry and a huge milestone for SpiceJet. This record firmly establishes SpiceJet’s standing as country’s most preferred airline,” said Shilpa Bhatia, Chief Sales and Revenue Officer of SpiceJet. For GoAir, IndiGo, Air Asia and Vistara, the passenger load factor stood at 93.3 per cent, 90.9 per cent, 87.8 per cent and 85.6 per cent, respectively, in May. Air India’s passenger load factor was at 85 percent in May, the DGCA data showed.
Sharat Dhall, Chief Operating Officer (B2C) of Yatra.com, said: “Considering the slow growth in the last two months due to turbulence in the aviation industry, it is encouraging to see a month-on-month growth of 2.96 per cent.” “Induction of new aircraft and discounts offered by the airlines has marginally lifted the passenger traffic. We expect higher growth in the coming months as more seat capacity comes in and airlines are also likely to announce further sales as we move into the off-peak period,” he added.
Sectoral experts had earlier pegged that increase in fares due to restrained capacity on account of suspension of Jet’ operations could be a hurdle for India’s air traffic growth. India’s domestic air traffic witnessed double digit growth for 24 straight months.