From being one of the world's fastest growing domestic air travel market, India has dropped down to 4th position, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This is primarily due to a sharp surge in airfares after Jet Airways began reducing flights from earlier this year, grounding of Spice-Jet's Boeing 737 Max and the overall economic slowdown in India.
According to the trade association, presently, Russia, the US and Japan are the top three growing markets. "Domestic demand (overall globally) rose 4.1% in March, which was a deceleration from 6.2% growth recorded in February, driven largely by developments in China and India. India's domestic traffic rose just 3.1% in March, down from February's growth of 8.3% and well off the torrid five-year average growth pace of close to 20% per month. The slowdown largely reflects reduction in flight operations of Jet Airways- which stopped flying in April- as well as disruptions at Mumbai airport owing to construction," The Times of India quoted IATA as saying.
As per reports, this is so far the sharpest fall that has been witnessed by a major market like India. India had seen double-digit growth for 52 straight months with the last month being December 2018. At that time India had 1.3 crore domestic passengers, which was up 12.9% as compared to December 2017. However, in January and February this year, the domestic growth rate had declined to 9.1% and 5.6%, respectively.
To cope up with the slowdown blues, the government is trying to revive demand by facilitating other airlines, mainly SpiceJet, to acquire Jet's planes and airport slots. Other airlines reportedly are taking in Jet's crew members.
(Edited by: Nehal Solanki)