9. Tenerife North Airport, Tenerife – Spain: This is one of the two international airports on the Tenerife Island of. In 1977, it was the site of the ‘Tenerife airport disaster’ -- termed as the worst accident in aviation history. The accident killed 583 passengers and crew after two Boeing 747s collided on the runway amid heavy fog. (Image: Reuters)
As the second wave of COVID-19 swept across India restricting air travel, domestic air passenger traffic in May fell by 63 percent to around 21.15 lakh passengers from 57.30 lakh passengers in April, according to data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Passengers were reluctant to travel through planes in May as state governments mandated air passengers to provide negative RT-PCR test reports not older than 72 hours from the time of departure as well as institutional or home quarantines of about seven to 14 days on arrival amid an exponential surge in COVID-19 cases.
When compared to May 2020, domestic air passenger traffic rose 652 percent in May due to a low base from a year ago. In May last year most domestic civil aviation flights were suspended as the country went into a nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Domestic air passenger traffic has been declining since February due to the outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19. In February, daily passenger traffic had touched about 300,000, as against the pre-pandemic level of 400,000-450,000.
The domestic airline industry has been operating with subdued passenger traffic and operations since last one year. The government halted domestic flight services from Mar 25, 2020 till May 24, 2020, leading to a significant fall in traffic and revenues.
In terms of market share in May, InterGlobe Aviation Ltd-run IndiGo held on to the top spot at 55.3 percent market share in May up from 53.9 percent in April.
Air India leapfroged SpiceJet Ltd in terms of market share in May. The national carrier came a distant second with a market share of 20.3 percent in May, up from 12 percent in April. SpiceJet's market share in May fell to 9.4 percent compared with 12.3 percent in the previous month.
The Wadia Group-controlled GoFirst, formerly known as GoAir's market share fell to 6.5 percent in May from 9.6 percent in April.
The Tata Sons-controlled AirAsia India's market share also declined to 3 percent in May from 6.2 percent in the previous month.
Full-service carrier Vistara, operated by Tata SIA Airlines Ltd, saw its market share decline by 80 basis points from April to 4.6 percent in May.
The civil aviation ministry has so far allowed airlines to utilise 80 percent of their fleet capacity.
On account of the ongoing second wave of pandemic, passenger load declined across all airlines in May.
SpiceJet reported the highest load factor among airlines in May, at 64 percent, but was lower than 70.8 percent in April. Market leader IndiGo also saw its passenger load factor fall to 51.2 percent in May from 58.7 percent in April.
The load factor of GoFirst was 63.3 percent in May, down from 65.7 percent in April, while that of AirAsia India fell to 44 percent in May from 64 percent in April.
Air India recorded a load factor of 39.3 percent in May substantially lower than 52.0 percent in April, while Vistara's load factor for the month was at 40.9 percent against 54.6 percent in April.
IndiGo was the most punctual airline in May, with 98.7 percent on-time performance, followed by Vistara at 98.1 percent, and Air Asia at 97.4 percent, at four metro airports--Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Hyderabad.