KOCHI: The domestic aviation sector has grown by leaps and bounds in God’s Own Country, even surpassing the national average of 23.1 percent registered in 2016, despite demonetisation.
According to officers of the Cochin and Trivandrum International Airports, the growth in domestic passenger footfall at the airports was 25.34 percent and 30 percent, respectively, in the first nine months of the current fiscal.
In comparison, the growth in national average registered in the period was 23.18 percent - about 9.98 crore passengers - said the data released by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
This fiscal, around 37.64 lakh domestic passengers moved through Cochin Airport, against 30.03 lakh passengers in 2015. At the Thiruvananthapuram airport, the domestic foot-fall registered in 2016 was 15.55 lakhs, against the 11.96 lakh passengers in the previous fiscal.
Interestingly, domestic foot-fall in the last two months of 2016 - November and December - was at a record high in Cochin Airport with 3,52,936 and 3,82,455 passengers, respectively, passing through.
While its two counterparts registered higher growth in domestic aviation than the national average, the Kozhikode International Airport lagged behind, primarily because it was partially closed from June last year as part of runway expansion works.
Several airlines operating wide-bodied aircraft from the airport shifted their operations to Cochin due to the expansion works. Confirming this, a senior official at Kozhikode airport told ‘Express’ that the airport was out of the race in domestic sector owing to various reasons.
“Though Malabar region is one of the main tourist locations in the state, the tourism department is yet to tap its potential. If the region finds a place on the world tourism map, domestic traffic to the airport will increase manifold,” he said.
The DGCA report said passenger share of full-service airlines like Air India, Jet Airways and GoAir slid in 2016, while low-cost airlines such as IndiGo dominated in 2016 as well with a 2.6 percent increase in market share, taking it to 39.3 percent. In 2016, around 63.8 percent of all passengers flew using low-cost airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir, an increase from 59.7% in 2015.
Domestic air passenger traffic in India grew to 23.18 pc - about 9.98 crore passengers in 2016.
The domestic growth rate of Cochin and Trivandrum Airports was 25.34 pc and 30 pc in the first nine months of the fiscal.
Despite demonetisation, December and November proved to be the most profitable for Cochin Airport with domestic footfall running into 3.52 lakhs and 3.82 lakhs, respectively.
In 2016, India’s domestic air traffic was 9.98 crore passengers, compared to 8.19 crore in 2015
Highest average load factor of 92.66 pc was recorded by SpiceJet, while GoAir recorded 87.22 pc, IndiGo recorded 84.9pc, AirAsia recorded 84.56 pc, Jet Airways recorded 81.03 pc, Air India recorded 79.01pc and Vistara recorded 75.51 pc