India’s domestic air passenger traffic grows 83%

Posted on May 17, 2022 by

Domestic air passenger traffic in India is estimated to have logged an 83 percent growth year-on-year with 10.5-million passengers in April as the number of Covid-19 infection cases waned and the pandemic related to the Indian government has relaxed restrictions on travel. However, this increase is on heavily depressed numbers of last year when the COVID-19 pandemic shattered the travel industry. There is a gap of 5 percent still to be covered compared to the pre-pandemic level, ICRA claimed. Indian air carriers had flown around 11 million passengers in April 2019. ICRA is Indian investment information and credit rating agency whose inputs are widely appreciated by industries all over the country.

The recovery is majority due to optimistic news on the issue of the CoVID-19 pandemic. As more and more people have completed their COVID-19 vaccination course, the government feels confident in relaxing the restrictions. Another relaxation recently has reduced the minimum period required for the preventive dose to three months after the second jab of COVID-19 dose instead of nine for those traveling abroad for genuine reasons and where their destination country may require such a vaccination.

However, the domestic airline operators also witnessed the international passenger traffic marginally cross the pre-pandemic numbers, around 1.83 million, with total volumes standing at about 1.85 million.

While hotels around the country for the current season suggest an excellent season for the travel and hospitality industry and more and more people are planning to travel in the coming months as schools shut down for summer vacation (according to a survey, 70 percent of Indians plan to travel in coming months); there are some new challenges on the horizon for travel and hospitality industry in general and aviation industry in particular. Foreign tourists have continued to shy away from traveling to India even after several world governments have accepted and appreciated India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive.

It also stated that rising aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices due to ongoing geopolitical issues linked to the Russia-Ukraine conflict continue to evolve as a significant threat to the recovery process. For April 2022, the net average daily departures were at around 2,726, notably higher than the average daily departures of about 2,000 in the same month a year earlier and higher than approximately 2,588 in the previous month, March 2022, said Suprio Banerjee. He is Vice-President & Sector Head of ICRA.

According to Superior Banerjee, the average number of passengers per flight during the previous month of April 2022 was 128, against that of 133 passengers per flight for March 2022 and much lower than the average of 135 passengers per flight in April 2019.

“Though recovery in passenger traffic is expected to be relatively fast-paced in the financial year 2023, given the near normalcy situation seen in domestic airline operations, overhang of any further Covid wave looms on the sector,” Banerjee warned.

HE STATED THAT elevated ATF prices aggravated by geopolitical issues will remain a near term-challenge for the industry and will continue to weigh on the profitability of Indian carriers. Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) has seen a rise in prices due to skyrocketing demand because of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. That may emerge as a serious challenge to the aviation and tourism industry recovering from the shock given by COVID-19. Some other challenges may also arise from that conflict for the travel agencies as travel to Eastern Europe may also be affected. Yet, the general mood of the tourism and hospitality industry is optimistic for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic first forced a nationwide lockdown.