NEW DELHI: The Indian aviation industry on Sunday crossed the mark of 4-lakh domestic air passengers a day for the first time since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The airlines carried 4,07,975 passengers on 2,838 flights on Sunday, as per data provided by the government, which is almost equal to average daily passenger count of 2019, the pre-pandemic year.
“And we hit the 4 lakh mark for the first time in the last two years!” Jyotiraditya Scindia, Union Minister of Civil Aviation tweeted on Monday. Hit by covid-19 pandemic, air traffic saw a sharp plunge in FY21 and FY22. India’s domestic traffic is estimated to have grown by nearly 59% year-on-year to 84 million in FY22, lower by 40% when compared to the pre-pandemic level.
However, since March 2022, due to the waning impact of covid-19 and the government’s decision to lift travel-related curbs, air traffic has been witnessing a strong rebound. According to rating agency ICRA, a sequential growth of 37% in domestic air passenger traffic was seen in March 2022 to 10.6 million compared to 7.7 million in February 2022, and YoY growth of 35% compared to 7.8 million in March 2021.
The increase in air traffic is a welcoming sign for aviation players who incurred massive losses in FY21 and FY22 due to poor demand amid travel restrictions. The industry now expects this momentum to continue due to a huge pent-up demand, for which most players are ramping up their operations. SpiceJet on Monday announced launching about three-dozen flights, which will be starting from April 26 in a phased manner.
The airline will be launching new non-stop international flights connecting Ahmedabad with Muscat in Oman, Mumbai with Dhaka in Bangladesh, Kozhikode with Jeddah & Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and Mumbai with Riyadh & Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
Domestic air traffic to go up by 59% YoY
Hit by covid-19 pandemic, air traffic saw a sharp plunge in FY21 and FY22. India’s domestic traffic is estimated to have grown by neqarly 59% year-on-year to 84 million in FY22