Buoyed by the rise in air travelers in India, the average passenger load factor for domestic airlines crossed 90% for the first time in February, according to the latest monthly data released by the International Air Transport Association. Passenger load factors are a measure of the how many seats in a flight are occupied by paying passengers.

IATA’s data also shows that the domestic air traffic in India rose 22.9% in February 2018, marking a 42nd consecutive month of double digit growth in the number of people flying.

“…passenger demand is continuing to be stimulated by network growth, which translates into time savings for passengers and has a similar stimulatory impact as cuts in airfares,” IATA said in a statement which accompanied the data release.

According to data from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the country’s airlines carried 107.44 lakh passengers in February 2018, which was 24.14% more than 86.55 lakh in the same month last year. During the month, Jet Airways, Vistara, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo clocked passenger load factors of more than 90%.

Analysts attribute this strong growth in domestic air traffic to regular sales offered by the airlines that has made flying affordable for passengers. Higher disposable income along with increase in services is also major reason behind the growth. “The low fare regime and targeted revenue management has led to the growth in domestic air traffic,” says aviation expert Kapil Kaul, CEO of aviation consulting firm CAPA.

Sharing a similar sentiment, aviation analyst Dhiraj Mathur, Partner, PwC adds, “Government’s UDAN scheme that boosts regional connectivity too has contributed to this increase.”

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