NEW DELHI: The cancellation of numerous flights in the world’s fastest-growing aviation market has created a gap in the demand for seats and supply by airlines.
According to estimated data, grounding of aircraft by Jet Airways and the cancellation of flights by other airlines over operational issues reduced the availability of seats locally by over a million, from about 14.7 million seats in January to about 13.4 million in February.
The reduction in seats offered by airlines is set to impact the report by the International Air Transport Association, which in December had expected the Indian aviation sector to grow in double digits for the next few years and become the third-largest aviation market by 2025, after the United States and China.
The recent passenger data released by the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) tells a different story.
In the month of January and February when cancellation of flights was not so acute, passengers carried by domestic airlines registered a year-on-year growth of 7.42 per cent, slowing significantly from the 18.60 per cent growth registered in the calendar year (January-December) 2018.
While multiple reports say that the airlines are doing their bit, with SpiceJet inducting 40-50 of Jet’s grounded planes and IndiGo hiring more pilots to add to capacity, there is no official statement from the carriers yet.
The demand and supply gap and the subsequent rise in airfare is now also being seen in international flights as Jet Airways and Air India in the last few weeks cancelled a number of flights on international routes.
While Jet has discontinued services from Delhi and Mumbai to Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Bahrain among other routes till April 30, Air India has cancelled several international flights, mainly to European cities on account of low yield and route rationalisation.