Air travel gathers speed: 12 pct sequential improvement seen in domestic passenger traffic in December 2020, says ICRA
New Delhi: The Indian aviation industry has witnessed a continued recovery in domestic passenger traffic in December 2020, with a sequential growth (over November 2020) of 12 percent to 71 lakh passengers, says credit rating agency ICRA.
The capacity deployment in December 2020 at ~67% (vis-a-vis December 2019) is a significant increase over the ~52% capacity deployed in October 2020 and 59% in November 2020. On a YoY basis, however, domestic passenger traffic declined by 45%.
According to Kinjal Shah, Vice President, ICRA “The number of flights departing has also gradually increased from 416 on Day 1 to 2,230 on Day 219 (December 28, 2020). For December 2020, the average daily departures were 2,048, significantly lower than the average daily departures of 3,062 in December 2019, though better than 1,806 in November 2020."
"The average number of passengers per flight during December 2020 was 112, against an average of 137 passengers per flight in December 2019. Thus, it is expected that the domestic aviation industry operated at a passenger load factor (PLF) of 72% in December 2020, against 87.9% in December 2019, that too on a low capacity. The PLF for December 2020 was lower than the 75% in November 2020, due to the increase in capacity deployment by ~17%. Overall, from May 25, 2020 till December 31, 2020, domestic passenger traffic has been pegged at 29.9 million," Shah said.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) permitted increasing the capacity to 45%, with effect from June 27, 2020; post the initial recommencement of operations of the scheduled domestic flights, with effect from May 25, 2020 to a limited extent i.e. maximum 1/3rd of their respective approved capacity of the Summer Schedule 2020.
It further permitted increasing the capacity to 60% with effect from September 02, 2020, to 70% with effect from November 11, 2020 and further to 80% with effect from December 03, 2020.
While the scheduled international operations are yet to start, the MoCA has permitted international operations under the Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) and Air Transport Bubbles (ATB). Under the VBM for evacuation of Indian citizens from foreign countries, which started from May 07, 2020, the international passenger traffic (inbound and outbound) for Indian carriers has been 17.7 lakh for the period May 07, 2020 to December 31, 2020. For December 2020, international passenger traffic for Indian carriers was recorded at 3.1 lakh, a YoY decline of 87%.