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Domestic air passenger traffic jumps in August as COVID restrictions ease

The total passenger load in August stood at 67.01 lakh, whereas, the number of passengers carried by domestic airlines in July was 50.07 lakh and 31.13 lakh in June, the civil aviation sector regulator said.

September 16, 2021 / 06:43 PM IST
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Domestic air passenger traffic surged 33.8 percent month-on-month in August, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said on September 16.

The total passenger load in August stood at 67.01 lakh compared to 50.07 lakh in July and 31.13 lakh in June.
The passenger traffic in August 2021 also more than doubled when compared to the same month in the past year, the aviation sector regulator said. In August last year, the number of passengers carried by domestic airlines stood at 28.32 lakhs.

Flight restrictions have been relatively eased as compared to July last year when complete lockdowns were imposed by several states to curb the pace of COVID-19 transmission.

Domestic airlines were allowed to operate at 45 percent capacity utilisation in August 2020 compared to the 72.5 percent capacity utilisation allowed in August 2021.

The passenger load factor of major scheduled commercial airlines improved in August as compared to the previous month. IndiGo's PLF rose to 74.0 percent in August from 66.2 percent in July.

Similarly, SpiceJet's PLF rose to 79.6 percent in August from 74.6 percent in July, Air India's PLF rose to 68.4 percent in August from 64.3 percent and Vistara's PLF rose to 71.3 percent from 69.2 percent in the previous month.


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GoFirst, formerly know as GoAir, saw its PLF recover in August after falling in July. The airlines' PLF came in at 67.6 percent last month after falling to 67.1 percent in July from 70.9 percent in June. PLF measures capacity utilisation of transport services, including airlines.

In terms of market share, InterGlobe Aviation-operated IndiGo led the sector with a 57 percent market share in June. The airline in August carried 38.16 lakh passengers compared to 29.32 lakh passengers in the previous month.

Air India’s domestic market share fell to 13.2 percent in August from 13.4 percent in July and 16.5 percent in June, the airline carried 8.86 lakh passengers during the month against 6.7 lakh in July.

SpiceJet carried 5.84 lakh passengers, constituting an 8.7 percent market share, and GoFirst carried 4.58 lakh passengers, registering a 6.8 percent market share, during August.

Vistara and AirAsia India carried about 5.58 lakh passengers and 3.49 lakh passengers, respectively, during August. Vistara's market share jumped to 8.3 percent in August from 8.1 percent in July and 7.2 percent in June. AirAsia India recorded a market share of 5.2 percent in August after seeing a market share of 3.3 percent in July.

The DGCA has allowed airlines to sell seats up to 72.5 percent of an airline’s pre-covid capacity on domestic flights paving way for airlines to deploy more capacity on domestic routes.

The government has during the ongoing covid-19 pandemic imposed a capacity cap to prevent the spread of infection. Scheduled international commercial flights remain suspended till September 30.

The restriction does not apply to international all-cargo flights, those under bilateral air bubble agreements, and those specifically approved by the aviation regulator.
IndiGo was the most punctual airline in July, with 96.5 percent on-time performance, followed by Air Asia at 96.3 percent, and Vistara at 95.6 percent, at four metro airports--Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Hyderabad.

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