Domestic air traffic increased in 2021-2022, but still 40% lower than pre-pandemic level: ICRA

Domestic air passenger traffic increased in 2021-’22


India’s domestic air passenger traffic is estimated to have grown by about 59 percent year-on-year to 84 million in 2021-’22, although it is still about 40 percent lower compared to the pre-pandemic level, the credit rating agency ICRA said on Monday.

It also expects rising aviation turbine fuel prices, exacerbated by geopolitical issues, to remain a short-term challenge for the industry and to be a key determinant of profitability for the sector. On a successive basis, domestic passenger traffic rose about 37 percent to 10.6 million in March, driven by near-normalization in airline operations due to the decline in the impact of the pandemic, ICRA noted.

Passenger traffic on local air routes was 7.7 million in February 2022, it added.

Traffic growth in March this year stood at 35 percent, compared to more than 7.8 million in the year last month, ICRA further noted.

Airlines’ capacity deployment for March 2022 recorded a 12 percent growth at 80,217 departures compared to more than 71,548 departures clocked in the same month last year, ICRA said.

Domestic departure grew 42 percent in March this year compared to the previous month, driven by increased vaccination rates and rapid reduction of the third wave of COVID-19, which allowed for the rapid lifting of travel restrictions, the rating agency said.

“Domestic passenger traffic for 2021-2022 is estimated at about 84 million, year-on-year growth of 59 percent, marginally higher than our estimate of 80-82 million, although it is about 40 percent lower than pre-COVID levels, “Vice President and Sector Head of ICRA Suprio Banerjee said.

For March this year, the average daily deviations were at about 2,588, higher than the average daily deviations of about 2,308 in March 2021, and especially higher compared to about 2,023 in February 2022, he said.

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