BENGALURU: The passenger load factor in October this year in the domestic aviation sector has shown some recovery due to increased demand after the lockdown was lifted and due to the festive season, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has said.
As many as 52.71 lakh passengers travelled across the country last month, up from 39.43 lakh in September, offering a ray of hope of the aviation sector finally picking up this quarter. However, it is 57.2% lower than the corresponding period last year, according to figures released by the regulator. The stats on Performance of Domestic Airlines were released on Wednesday night on the DGCA website. The analysis is based on traffic data submitted by 9 scheduled airlines.
DGCA chief Arun Kumar told The New Indian Express, “Our numbers are improving, but a tad slow. Hopefully, with the vaccine becoming a reality soon, we may return to a healthy growth sooner than later.” The overall Passenger Load Factor (percentage of occupied seats) of the nine airlines which operated in October stood at 59.2%. Spicejet had the best load factor of 74% followed by Star Air at 71.6% with Pawan Hans having the lowest PLF at just 21.9%.
Indigo had the lion’s share of passengers with 29.27 lakh, which accounts for 55.5% of the overall domestic traffic. Domestic carrier Air India only had 9.4% of the share as it flew 4.94 lakh passengers. The year-on-year comparison figures revealed a negative growth of 58.27%. Passengers carried from January to October 2020 stood at 4.93 crore compared to 11.82 crore in the corresponding period in 2019.
Passenger complaints received per 10,000 passengers stood at 435, the report said, with complaints pertaining to refund issues dominating at 83.9%. This is a 2.5% increase over complaints in the previous year. The overall cancellation rates of various airlines stood at 2.62%. A total of 11,939 passengers were affected due to cancellations, forcing a compensation of Rs 22.70 lakh to be paid to them, while 25,008 flyers were impacted due to delays. Totally, 118 passengers were denied boarding for various reasons and airlines had to pay Rs 1.71 lakh towards compensation and facilities for them, the report said.
India will take time on Boeing 737 Max
Even as the United States gave the green signal for the Boeing 737 Max to fly again on Wednesday, India will take some time to do it. A senior DGCA official told TNIE, “It will take sometime. It is a work in progress.” Shares of Spicejet, which has 13 such planes in its fleet, are reported to have shot up on Thursday following the clearance given by the US.