India’s Air Passenger Growth Falls To Lowest In Six Years During Festival Quarter
Indians are increasingly cutting back on air travel in a slowing economy.
India’s air passenger growth during the seasonally strong Diwali festival quarter rose at the slowest pace in six years as Indians cut back on travel in a slowing economy.
Airlines’ passenger traffic grew at 5.8 percent year-on-year to 3.82 crore in the quarter ended December, according to data shared by Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
More Indians usually take to the skies in the festive season. A slower air passenger growth during the period this year would be a concern when airlines are also grappling with higher maintenance costs. That comes as slowing consumption is estimated to bring down India’s GDP growth rate to lowest in more than a decade in in 2019-20.
In December, the number of passengers flying Indian airlines grew at 2.6 percent year-on-year to nearly 1.3 crore—the slowest in last three months, according to DGCA data.
Air passenger growth in December is nearly one-fourth of what the industry recorded in November—which stood at 11.2 percent. It is also nearly one-sixth of the average air passenger growth of the last six years which is around 16 percent.
Here’s how the year-on-year passenger growth of airlines fared in December:
- IndiGo’s air passenger growth stood at 13 percent—the slowest in last 25 months.
- SpiceJet’s air passenger growth stood at 37.1 percent—the slowest in last three months.
- GoAir’s air passenger growth stood at 19.8 percent—the slowest in last nine months.
- Vistara’s air passenger growth stood at 65.7 percent—lower than previous months.
- Air India’s air passenger growth contracted 1.2 percent—the worst in last nine months.
- AirAsia India’s air passenger growth stood at 35.4 percent—lower than previous months.
Passenger load factor, percentage of seats filled or a measure of capacity utilisation, improved compared to last year for only two airlines—GoAir and IndiGo. SpiceJet, whose passenger growth rate came in at a three-month low in December, managed to report 90 percent passenger load factor for the 56th consecutive month.
Here’s how year-on-year passenger load factor of airlines fared in December:
- IndiGo’s PLF decreased by 120 basis points to 90.1 percent.
- GoAir’s PLF increased by 120 basis points to 89.7 percent.
- SpiceJet’s PLF flat at 92.7 percent.
- AirAsia India’s PLF decreased by 450 basis points to 84.3 percent.
- Vistara’s PLF decreased by 200 basis points to 81.1 percent.
- Air India’s PLF decreased by 40 basis points to 80.8 percent.
SpiceJet and Tata Group-controlled AirAsia India and Vistara saw expansion in market share in December compared to the previous month. While SpiceJet’s market share rose to a five-year high of 16.5 percent, market share of Vistara and Air Asia stood at 13.1 percent—their highest ever.