India's domestic air traffic registered the highest-ever number of domestic flyers in a day so far on April 30, with over 4.56 lakh taking to the skies, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has said. The civil aviation ministry data shows a total of 4,56,082 passengers flew via 2,978 flights on April 30 and there were a total of 5,947 flight movements. "India's domestic air traffic reaches new heights with an all time high!" the ministry said.

Jyotiraditya Scindia said India's aviation industry is touching new heights and after Covid, the increasing domestic air travelers is a sign that India is going in the right direction.

The ministry, while talking about the May 1 numbers, said 4.48 lakh passengers had taken to the skies via 2,936 flights. "Domestic aviation operations soaring higher. On 1st May 2023. 448,248 passengers on 2,936 flights. Total flight movements: 5,879. Total passengers: 899,412," says the civil aviation ministry.

The rebound in India's aviation industry comes after heavy losses faced by the industry in the past Covid-hit years. As per Minister of State in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Gen V.K. Singh (retd), the industry suffered losses worth ₹11,658 crore during FY 2021-22, while in the previous Covid-hit years FY21 and FY20, the cumulative losses stood at ₹12,479 crore and ₹4,770 crore, respectively.

However, the worst seems to be over now. The latest market analysis report by the global airlines trade association IATA (Internation Air Transport Association) shows India is in the process of becoming a key global aviation market. With air pax traffic expected to reach 395 million in 2023-24, India seems to have solidified its position as the world's 3rd largest aviation market. India's aviation market led other thriving markets like the US, China, and Japan in the passenger load factor (PLF) at 81.6% in February 2023 vs 85.2% in January 2022, said IATA in its latest market analysis report.

Ratings agency ICRA also says that India's aviation industry has picked up the pace, with air demand rising steadily. It has revised the outlook for the Indian aviation industry to 'stable' from 'negative'. ICRA last month projected domestic passenger traffic growth at 8-13% in FY2024, post the 55-60% expansion in FY2023, to reach 145-150 million, which is much higher than the pre-Covid levels.

Domestic airlines in India recorded 51.7% year-on-year passenger growth in January-March 2023, the latest Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) data showed. The airlines carried 375.04 lakh passengers as of March 2023 vs 247.23 lakh in the year-ago period, while the growth on a month-on-month basis stood at 21.41%. The passenger load factor (PLF) for various airlines in March 2023 shows SpiceJet recording the highest PLF at 92.3%, followed by Vistara at 91.6% and Go First at 90.2%, the DGCA said.

Private airline IndiGo commanded the largest market share at 56.8% in March 2023, with a total number of passengers carried out standing at 73.17 lakh in March 2023. It was followed by Vistara at 8.9% (11.49 lakh passengers) and Air India at 8.8% (11.39 lakh passengers).

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