Domestic air travel demand continued on an upward trajectory month-on-month, with the October volume witnessing a 33 per cent growth to 52 lakh passengers over September, Icra said.
On a year-on-year basis, however, the domestic travel demand declined 58 per cent and internationally the fall was 87 per cent, it said. The Indian aviation industry has witnessed continued recovery in domestic passenger traffic in October with a sequential growth (over September) of around 33 per cent to around 52 lakh passengers, Icra said in a release on Friday.
Icra further noted that the capacity deployment in October 2020 at around 52 per cent over the same month last year, is a significant increase over the around 33 per cent capacity deployed in August and around 46 per cent capacity in September this year. The civil aviation ministry in June had permitted increasing the capacity to 45 per cent with effect from June 27 from a maximum of one-third at the time of resumption of domestic flights from May 25, which was further scaled up to 60 per cent from September 2.
The capacity is expected to go up to 70-75 per cent in the coming days in view of the festive season, the government had said. According to Icra, the cumulative domestic passenger volumes since the resumption of domestic flight services in a graded manner from May 25, till October 31, was around 16 million.
"The number of flights departing has also gradually increased from 416 on Day 1 to 1,749 on Day 156 (October 26, 2020). For October, the average daily departures were around 1,574, significantly lower than the average daily departures of 3,031 in October 2019, though better than around 1,311 in September 2020," said Kinjal Shah, Vice President, ICRA.Also, the average number of passengers per flight during October 2020, was 106, as against an average of 131 passengers per flight in October 2019, she said.
Therefore, it is expected that the domestic aviation industry operated at a passenger load factor (PLF) of around 68 per cent in October 2020, as against 83.6 per cent in October 2019, that too on a low capacity, she added.PLF or seat factor is a measure of how much of an airline's passenger carrying capacity is used or average percentage of seats filled in an aircraft.
According to Shah, the PLF for October was higher than 63.2 per cent in September, despite the increase in capacity deployment by around 24 per cent. Under the Vande Bharat Mission, the international passenger traffic, both (inbound and outbound, was 10,96,709 between May 7 (when the services commenced) to October 31, as per Icra.
The international passenger traffic declined 87 per cent to 255,075 year-on-year, though sequentially it improved by about 22 per cent, Icra said in the release.