Economic slowdown: April air passenger traffic dives into the red

NEW DELHI: High base effect along with steep airfares and capacity constraints dragged India’s domestic air passenger traffic into the negative territory in April.

Besides, an overall slowdown in consumer sentiment and seasonal factors also impacted the sector.

As per data of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the air passenger traffic declined (-) 4.50 per cent to 1.09 crore in April from 1.15 crore reported for the corresponding month of the previous fiscal.

In March, the air passenger traffic growth rate had inched up a mere 0.14 per cent to 1.15 crore on a year-on-year basis.

According to the data, January-April passenger traffic grew 2.53 per cent to 4.64 crore from 4.53 crore ferried during the corresponding period of the previous year.

“Passengers carried by domestic airlines during January-April 2019 were 464.47 lakh as against 453.03 lakh during the corresponding period of previous year, thereby registering a growth of 2.53 per cent,” the data report said.

Further, low-cost carrier SpiceJet had the highest passenger load factor (PLF) — a measure of capacity utilisation of the airline — at 93.7 per cent in April.

“The passenger load factor in the month of April 2019 has shown decreasing trend
compared to previous month due to end of vacation period of various sectors,” DGCA said in the traffic report.

According to the data, GoAir led the industry with 96.3 per cent punctuality rate (on-time performance) at the four major airports of Bengaluru, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. It was followed by AirAsia India (93 per cent), Vistara (92.8 per cent) and IndiGo (89.9 per cent).

The overall cancellation rate of the scheduled domestic airlines for April stood at 0.76 per cent. Also, 1,218 passenger-related complaints were received last month.

IndiGo led the industry with the highest market share of 49.9 per cent, followed by SpiceJet (13.1 per cent), Air India (13.9 per cent), and GoAir (10.8 per cent).

AirAsia India had a market share of 6.2 per cent, followed by Vistara (4.7 per cent), JetLite (0.2 per cent) and Trujet (0.5 per cent).

Jet Airways, which suspended its operations on April 17, had a market share of (0.8 per cent).

“Consistent hike in airfares and low capacity due to unused Jet slots have impacted the passenger growth across key sectors like Delhi and Mumbai. Average domestic airfares in April saw an increase of 15 per cent,” said Rajnish Kumar, Co-founder, ixigo.

“International passenger traffic has also witnessed a slowdown with airfares across popular routes like Delhi-London and Delhi-Dubai becoming three times costlier than last year.”