Domestic air traffic down 45% to 71 lakh in December: ICRA
Domestic air traffic down 45% to 71 lakh in December: ICRA

India's domestic traffic declined around 45 per cent to about 71 lakh passengers in December last year over December 2019 even as passenger traffic was up 12 per cent sequentially over November 2020, ratings agency Icra said in a release.

The capacity deployment in December 2020 at around 67 per cent (vis-a-vis December 2019) is a significant increase over the 52 per cent capacity deployed in October 2020 and 59 per cent in November, Icra said in a release.

The Indian aviation industry has witnessed a continued recovery in domestic passenger traffic in December 2020, with a sequential growth (over November 2020) of around 12 per cent to about 71 lakh passengers, the ratings agency said.

The number of flights departing has also gradually increased from 416 from the resumption of domestic operations on May 25, 2020 to 2,230 on Day 219 (December 28, 2020), Kinjal Shah, Vice President, Icra said.

For December 2020, the average daily departures were nearly 2,048, significantly lower than the average daily departures of 3,062 in December 2019, though better than some 1,806 in November last year, she added.

"The average number of passengers per flight during December last year was 112, against an average of 137 passengers per flight in December 2019. Thus, it is expected that the domestic aviation industry operated at a passenger load factor (PLF) of around 72 per cent in December 2020, against 87.9 per cent in December 2019, that too on a low capacity," Shah said.

The PLF for December was lower than the 75 per cent in November due to the increase in capacity deployment by 17 per cent, she said, adding "overall, from May 25, 2020 till December 31, 2020, domestic passenger traffic has been pegged at around 29.9 million." After resuming operations in a phased manner with restricted capacity in May, the Civil Aviation Ministry further expanded it to 80 per cent from December 3, 2020.

The international passenger traffic, which is being carried out under various arrangements, has been around 17.7 lakh for the period May 7, 2020 to December 31, 2020, Icra said.

For December 2020, international passenger traffic for Indian carriers was recorded at around 3.1 lakh, a year-on-year decline of about 87 per cent, the ratings agency said in the release.

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