Domestic air passenger traffic in January to April has grown 24.41% from the year-ago period, largely due to improving regional connectivity boosted by the government’s UDAN scheme.

According to data from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), passengers flown by domestic airlines in January-April stood at 453.03 lakhs over 364.13 lakhs in the corresponding period in 2017. The passenger traffic month-on-month has risen by 26%—from 91.34 lakh in March 2018 to 115.13 lakhs in April 2018.

Aviation expert Kapil Kaul, CEO of Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), South Asia, says that promotional schemes of airlines, along with better revenue management, have further pushed the growth in passenger air traffic. “The low-fare regime and targeted revenue management have led to the growth in domestic air traffic.”

The passenger load factor (PLF)—an indicator of how many seats on a flight are occupied by paying passengers—has also grown. The DGCA attributes the increase in PLF in April 2018 over previous months to the beginning of tourist season, which resulted in higher number of people preferring air travel.

According to the data, SpiceJet continues to have the highest PLF, 95.5%, followed by market leader, IndiGo with 91.9%. Go Air came in third with 89.5%; Vistara has 88% PLF.

Analysts note that SpiceJet’s high PLF is the result of the airlines enhancing its customer’s services and adding capacity on its network, which has helped the carrier clock in higher PLF. Interestingly, SpiceJet has been registering over 90% load factor for a record 33 months in a row, analysts say.

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