Domestic airlines in India recorded 51.7% year-on-year passenger growth in January-March 2023, the data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) today showed. The airlines carried 375.04 lakh passengers from Jan-March 2023 as compared to 247.23 lakh in the same period last year, while the growth on a month-on-month basis stood at 21.41%, with 128.93 lakh passengers carried in March 2023 as compared to 106.19 lakh in March 2022.

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).

The passenger load factor (PLF) for various airlines in March shows SpiceJet recording the highest PLF at 92.3%, followed by Vistara at 91.6% and Go First at 90.2%, the DGCA said.

The overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines for the month of March 2023 has been 0.28%, with Fly Big reporting the highest cancellation rate at 4.48%, followed by Indiaone Air at 1.55%, and Alliance Air at 1.21%. Prominent reasons mentioned for cancellations were technical (53.6%), weather (22.2%), and operational (11.5%).

During March 2023, a total of 347 passenger-related complaints had been received by the scheduled domestic airlines. The number of complaints per 10,000 passengers carried for the month of March 2023 has been around 0.27.

India's aviation industry has picked up the pace, with air demand rising steadily, prompting ratings agency ICRA to revise 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. During 10 months of FY2023, domestic passenger traffic, at 111 million, witnessed a YoY increase of 66.2% and trailed the pre-Covid levels by only 8.3%.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Gen VK Singh (retd) had last month said the industry suffered losses worth ₹11,658 crore during FY 2021-22. In the previous Covid-hit years FY21 and FY20, the cumulative losses stood at ₹12,479 crore and ₹4,770 crore, respectively.

He said the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and other airport developers have targeted a capital outlay of approximately Rs 98,000 crore in the airport sector in the next five years for expansion and modification of existing terminals, new terminals and strengthening of runways, among other activities.

The government, he said, has also approved the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for the aviation sector, whose scope has been enhanced to provide credit support to these companies up to 100% of their total credit outstanding, subject to a cap of Rs 1,500 crore per borrower.

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