NEW DELHI: India’s aviation market which was flying high is feeling some turbulence. The passenger growth which was in double digits till March this year has suddenly slipped into the negative zone.
According to aviation regulator DGCA, during February this year domestic airlines carried nearly 113.49 lakh passengers and the number rose to 115.96 lakh in March this year.
However, in April the foot count went down to 109.35 lakh. The temporary suspension of the cash-starved Jet Airways is believed to be a key contributing factor to the slide.
The month-on-month growth in April 2018 was over 26% as the number of passengers went up to 115.13 lakh from 91.34 lakh in April 2017.
However, in April 2019, the trend reversed as it took a negative turn registering a downslide of -4.19%.
Aircraft movement at the airports also experienced a dip. During April 2019, all operational airports handled 201.16 thousand aircraft movements and the corresponding number was 208.20 in April 2018 registering a decrease of nearly 3.4%.
According to rating agency ICRA, since Jet began grounding its fleet from February, there has been a 30-40% increase in airfares in March compared to September 2018.
A civil aviation ministry official said the situation will improve soon as the government is trying to revive demand by facilitating other airlines to acquire Jet’s planes and airport slots.