Monday, October 05, 2020

Indian aviation sees recovery in September with 37% month-on-month growth: ICRA

New Delhi: The Indian aviation industry witnessed a continued recovery in domestic passenger traffic in September 2020, with a sequential growth (over August 2020) of 37% to 39 lakh passengers. The capacity deployment in September 2020 at around 46% (vis-a-vis September 2019) is a significant increase over the 33% capacity deployed in August 2020. On a Y-o-Y basis, however, domestic passenger traffic declined by 66%.

Kinjal Shah, Vice President, ICRA, says, “The number of flights departing has also gradually increased from 416 on Day 1 to 1,488 on Day 128 (September 28, 2020). For September 2020, the average daily departures were 1,311, significantly lower than the average daily departures of 2,874 in September 2019, though much better than 930 in August 2020. The average number of passengers per flight during September 2020 was 98, as against an average of 133 passengers per flight in September 2019. Thus, it is expected that the domestic aviation industry operated at a passenger load factor (PLF) of 63% in September 2020, as against 85.5% in September 2019, that too on low capacity. The PLF for September 2020 was similar to August 2020 despite the increase in capacity deployment by 37%. Overall, from May 25, 2020, till September 30, 2020, the domestic passenger traffic has been 11 million.”

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 summer schedule 2020. It further permitted increasing the capacity to 60% with effect from September 02, 2020. This apart, through a circular dated August 27, 2020, the MoCA has also amended certain provisions, like allowing airlines to provide meals onboard, serve pre-packed snacks/meals/ pre-packed beverages, and allowing in-flight entertainment, however with riders.

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 the evacuation of Indian citizens from foreign shores, which started from May 07, 2020, the international passenger traffic (inbound and outbound) has been 8,41,634 for the period May 07, 2020, to September 30, 2020. For September 2020, the number of international passenger traffic was 208,893, a Y-o-Y decline of ~89%.


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