India’s Domestic Air Traffic Doubles in January 2023 – More on the DGCA Report

A look at the Indian domestic aviation scene, with the DGCA report references

India Domestic Air Traffic Doubled

The disconcerting slump in air traffic and tourism in general during the days of COVID-19 is still a recent memory. So, the news of a recent surge in air traffic is welcome news for all parties concerned. 

Key Takeaways from the DGCA Report

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) released a report recently which revealed that domestic air passenger traffic in India has increased by two times in January 2023, when compared year-on-year. 

Increase in domestic air traffic - Compared to the 64.08 lakh passengers who travelled domestically in January 2022, more than 125 lakh passengers flew across the Indian skies in January 2023. This is an increase of over 95%. 

In 2022, the Indian domestic aviation industry accounted for 2% of the global aviation sector, as reported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The US domestic aviation market is 19.2% of the global market size, while China accounts for 6.5%. The revenue passenger kilometres in India rose by 48.8% while the available seat kilometres surged by 30.1%.

IATA also observed that in 2022, domestic air travel crawled back to over 85% of the pre-COVID air traffic levels.

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  1. Passenger load – The passenger load factor is a metric that measures the capacity utilisation of the aircraft. The closer the passenger load is to 100%, the better it is for the company. Spicejet clocked 91% passenger load, with 90.9% load achieved by both GoFirst and IndiaOne Air.
  2. Market share – At 54.6%, Indigo dominates more than half of India’s domestic market share. It catered to 68.47% of passengers during the month. Air India had 11.55 lakh passengers, which was a 9.2% market share. This was followed by Vistara with 8.8% and 11.05 lakh passengers.
  3. Cancellations – Given its huge market share, it is no surprise that Indigo saw a 2.09%cancellation in January 2023, the highest among all carriers. IndiaOne had no cancellations during the same period. The average rate of cancellation in India stood at 1.41%. Weather conditions accounted for 86.5% of all cancellations.
  4. Timeliness and complaints – Indigo excelled in timekeeping, with an 84.6% on-time performance. Akasa Air was on time for 79.9% while Vistara stood at 76.6%.

As many as 418 complaints were raised during January 2023 by scheduled commercial domestic carriers, which is an average of 0.33 complaints per 10,000 passengers. Alliance Air, Star Air and Fly Big had the highest number of average complaints with 6.9, 3.7 and 1.4 respectively. 

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The aviation industry in India has been under pressure due to the aftereffects of the pandemic. The major aviation stocks in the share market like Indigo, Spicejet and Jet Airways have all so far registered negative year-to-date growth in share price. However, the growth in terms of operations is expected to continue. Indian carriers are likely to place orders for 1500-1700 aircraft in the next two years. There are plans to set up at least five new greenfield international airports in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. 

For now, the industry is welcoming vibrancy back into the market.

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