Domestic airlines in India recorded 74.5% year-on-year passenger growth in January-February 2023, the data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) today showed. The airlines carried 246.11 lakh passengers in February 2023 as compared to 141.04 lakh in the same period last year, while the growth on a month-on-month basis stood at 56.82%, with 120.69 lakh passengers carried in 2023 as compared to 76.96 lakh in February 2022.

Private airline IndiGo commanded the largest market share at 55.2%, with a total number of passengers carried standing at 67.42 lakh in February 2023. It was followed by Air India at 8.9% (10.76 lakh passengers carried) and Vistara at 8.7% (10.53 lakh passengers).

The passenger load factor (PLF) for various airlines in February shows SpiceJet recording the highest PLF at 94.1%, followed by Go First at 93.1% and Vistara at 92.8%, the DGCA said.

The overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines for the month of February 2023 has been 0.25 %, with Fly Big reporting the highest cancellation rate at 3.19%, followed by Alliance Air at 1.36%, and Star Air at 1.02%. Prominent reasons mentioned for cancellations were weather (43.1%), operational (21.6%) and technical (27%).

During February 2023, a total of 359 passenger-related complaints had been received by the scheduled domestic airlines. The number of complaints per 10,000 passengers carried for the month of February 2023 has been around 0.30, with Alliance Air reporting a maximum of 4.1 complaints per 10,000 passengers, followed by Fly Big (1.6) and Air India (1.4).

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 this 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%.

ICRA also estimates international passenger traffic for Indian carriers to witness a YoY growth of 10-15% in FY2024, post the 125-130% expansion in FY2023. The international passenger traffic for Indian carriers is likely to surpass the pre-Covid levels in FY2023 itself while exceeding the peak of FY2019 in FY2024.

Meanwhile, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya M. Scindia last week said that in the past three years, the Centre accorded 'In-Principle' approval for setting up 21 new greenfield airports and that nine new greenfield airports were operationalised in the last five years since 2018. Out of 21 granted in-principle approval, six airports have already been operationalised.

These were Orvakal (Kurnool) in 2021, Sindhudurg in 2021, Kushinagar in 2021, Itanagar in 2022, Mopa in 2023 and Shivamogga in 2023. Presently, there are around 148 operational airports in the country, which include 137 airports, two water aerodromes and nine heliports, he said.

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