Air Passenger Traffic Grows the Fastest in 32 Months

India’s aviation sector witnessed its highest passenger growth in 32 months in March, as more than 1.16 crore Indians took to the skies.

Airline passenger traffic grew 28 percent, compared with the same month last year on account of strong capacity addition, according to data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

The growth in passenger traffic in the world’s fastest-growing aviation market was led by Air India, GoAir, Air Asia and Vistara. All the four airlines reported strong growth in passenger traffic by growing above the industry average of 28 percent.

The number of fliers for InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., the parent of IndiGo, fell 27 percent as the airline cancelled 935 flights due to instances of technical glitches in their Pratt & Whitney engines. That was marginally below the industry rate but higher compared to the previous month.

Passenger load factor, a measure of capacity utilisation, increased for all the major airline companies last month. SpiceJet Ltd. reported the highest passenger load factor of 95 percent. The company has now reported a PLF of more than 90 percent for the thirty-fifth consecutive month.

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Market share of India’s largest airline IndiGo declined marginally to 39.5 percent compared to last year. Among smaller domestic operators, Air India, GoAir, Air Asia and Vistara continued to gain market share at the cost of larger peers – IndiGo, the Jet group and SpiceJet.

In March, IndiGo and GoAir’s domestic flight cancellations stayed above the industry average due to its engine problems. Together, the two companies had grounded 11 aircraft, resulting into more than 1,000 cancelled flights.

Despite the engine issues, IndiGo reclaimed its top position in on-time performance from SpiceJet.

(This article was originally published in BloombergQuint.)

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