India's domestic air traffic rose 46.5% year-on-year to 103.55 lakh passengers in September 2022 compared with 70.66 lakh passengers in the corresponding period last year, data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation shows.

Domestic airlines carried 874.24 lakh passengers during January-September 2022, up from 531.11 lakh during the year-ago period, registering an annual growth of 64.61%, the civil aviation regulator says.

The air traffic, however, was lower than pre-Covid-19 levels of September 2019, when domestic carriers flew 115.33 lakh passengers.

IndiGo, the country's largest carrier, flew 59.72 lakh passengers in September and reported a market share of 57.7%, unchanged from August.

Tata Group-owned Air India became the third largest domestic carrier with a 9.2% market share last month. The erstwhile national carrier flew 9.49 lakh passengers.

Vistara, a joint venture of the Tatas and Singapore Airlines, remained the second largest domestic airline with a 9.6% market share. The full service carrier’s market share saw a slight dip from 9.7% in August.

Air Asia, another Tata Sons-backed carrier, saw its market share marginally rise to 5.9% in September from 5.8% in August.

Ajay Singh-led cash strapped SpiceJet saw its market share fall from 7.9% in August to 7.3% in September. The low-cost carrier flew 7.53 lakh passengers last month.

The market share of budget airline GoFrist declined from 8.6% in August to 7.9% in September. It carried 8.15 lakh passengers.

The overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines for the month of September 2022 has been 0.67 %. Alliance Air’s cancellation rate stood at 3.32%.

During September 2022, a total of 517 passenger related complaints had been received by the scheduled domestic airlines. The number of complaints per 10,000 passengers carried for the month of September 2022 has been around 0.50. Alliance Air received the maximum complaints per 10,000 passengers, followed by Star Air and Fly Big.

Vistara, which carried 9.96 lakh passengers in September, led the on-time performance among scheduled domestic airlines at four metro airports, followed by AirAsia and Air India.

Meanwhile, ratings agency ICRA maintains the ‘negative’ outlook on the Indian aviation industry.

"Elevated ATF prices will continue to pose a major threat to earnings and the liquidity profile of the airlines in the near to medium term. Also, the depreciation of the INR against the US$ (which adversely impacts lease rentals, maintenance cost and other overheads) will have a major bearing on the airlines’ cost structure," says the ratings agency.

Near-term relaunch of Jet Airways and the entry of low-cost domestic carrier, Akasa Air, will also intensify competition in the domestic aviation industry, says ICRA, adding that this will limit airlines' ability to expand margins.

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