India’s domestic air passenger traffic is estimated to grow at about 59 percent year-on-year to 84 million in 2021-22, although it is still about 40 percent lower compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to ICRA rating agency. said Monday.
It also expects that high aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices, exacerbated by geopolitical concerns, will remain a challenge for the industry in the near term and be a major determinant of the sector’s profitability. On a sequential basis, domestic passenger traffic spiked about 37 percent to 10.6 million in March, driven by near-normal business operations due to the diminishing 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 was 35 percent, compared to more than 7.8 million in the same month a year ago, ICRA further noted.
Airline capacity deployment for March 2022 registered a 12 percent growth with 80,217 departures compared to more than 71,548 departures in the same month of last year, ICRA said.
Domestic departures grew 42 percent in March this year from the previous month, driven by a faster vaccination rate and a rapid decline in the third wave of COVID-19, which allowed a swift lifting of travel restrictions, the rating agency said.
“Domestic passenger traffic for 2021-22 is estimated at about 84 million, an annualized growth of 59 percent, slightly higher than our estimate of 80-82 million, although it is about 40 percent lower than pre-COVID levels,” vice ICRA President and Sector Head Suprio Banerjee said.
For March this year, average daily departures were around 2,588, higher than the average daily departures of about 2,308 in March 2021, and significantly higher compared to about 2,023 in February 2022, he said.