NEW DELHI: India’s domestic air passenger traffic dived to a 10-year low during the previous financial year ended March 2021 at an estimated 53.4 million. The impact of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns had effectively removed two months of flight operations last summer.
According to ratings agency ICRA, one has to go back all the way to financial year 2010-11 for a lower traffic figure of 53.8 million passengers on local air routes.
Domestic passenger traffic in March 2021 alone has been estimated at around 77-78 lakh, a marginal decline of about 1 per cent over February during which airlines had flown around 78.30 lakh passengers.
“For FY21 (May 25, 2020 till March 31, 2021), domestic passenger traffic has been pegged at around 53.4 million, a year-on-year decline of about 62 per cent over the fiscal ended March 31, 2020, in line with ICRA’s estimates,” the report said. ICRA also noted that the recent spike in cases poses a crucial challenge for the sector’s recovery.
Meanwhile, local airlines’ capacity on offer during March 2021 was around 2 per cent higher at around 71,300 departures compared to 69,910 departures the previous year.
During the month, average daily departures were around 2,300, higher than the average daily departures of 2,255 in March 2020, “owing to the cessation of domestic travel for the last seven days of the month during the previous fiscal year, and marginally higher than around 2,296 in February this year,” said Kinjal Shah, Vice President ICRA.