High air fares and capacity constraints slowed India’s domestic air passenger traffic growth rate in March, official data showed on Monday.
As per the data of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), air passenger traffic growth rate in March rose a mere 0.14 per cent to 115.96 lakh from 115.80 lakh reported for the corresponding month of the previous fiscal.
In February, the number of passengers flown by domestic airlines grew at 5.62 per cent to 113.49 lakh on a year-on-year (YoY) basis.
“The passenger load factor in the month of March 2019 has shown decreasing trend compared to previous month due to end of vacation period of various sectors,” the DGCA said in its monthly traffic data analysis.
According to the data, January-March passenger traffic grew 4.92 per cent to 354.53 lakh from 337.90 lakh ferried during the corresponding period of the previous year.
“Passengers carried by domestic airlines during January-March 2019 were 354.53 lakh as against 337.90 lakh during the corresponding period of previous year, thereby registering a growth of 4.92 per cent,” the data analysis said.
Further, low-cost carrier SpiceJet had the highest passenger load factor (PLF) — a measure of capacity utilisation of the airline — at 93 per cent in March.
According to the data, GoAir led the industry with 95 per cent punctuality rate (on-time performance) at the four major airports of Bengaluru, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. It was followed by Vistara (91.9 per cent), AirAsia India (91.9 per cent) and IndiGo (89.5 per cent).
The overall cancellation rate of the scheduled domestic airlines for March stood at 0.93 per cent. Also, 1,684 passenger-related complaints were received last month.
IndiGo led the industry with the highest market share of 44.3 per cent, followed by SpiceJet (13.6 per cent), Air India (12.7 per cent), GoAir (9.2 per cent) and Jet Airways (8.9 per cent).
AirAsia India had a market share of 5.5 per cent, followed by Vistara (4 per cent), JetLite (1.4 per cent) and Trujet (0.5 per cent).
“Passenger growth has been on a downward spiral since January due to capacity crunch and high air fares,” said Aloke Bajpai, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and co-founder, ixigo, an online travel search marketplace.
“Ban on Boeing 737, airspace restrictions following border tensions and grounding of flights by Jet Airways saw air fares in March shoot up by 20-45 per cent YOY. All this has impacted the travel trends of a price sensitive market like India,” Bajpai said.