Pandemic Effect: 6.3 Crore Domestic Air Passengers Took Flights In 2020

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A representational picture of aircraft at Bengaluru airport. Source: teamvtaviation/Instagram

A fallout of the pandemic is that a total of 6.3 crore domestic passengers have travelled by air in 2020. This adds up to 56.29 per cent lower than 2019, aviation safety regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said on Friday.

Pandemic Takes Away Passengers

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to be felt on the Indian aviation sector as the regulator said that only 73.27 lakh people travelled by air domestically in December last year, which was 43.72 per cent lower than in the corresponding period of 2019.

While IndiGo carried 3.25 crore passengers last year, a 51.7 per cent share of the total domestic market, SpiceJet flew 93.9 lakh passengers, which is 14.9 per cent share of the market, according to data shared by the DGCA.

Air India, GoAir, AirAsia India and Vistara carried 69.32 lakh, 54.38 lakh, 43.87 lakh and 39.39 lakh passengers, respectively, in 2020, the data showed. The occupancy rate or load factor of six major Indian airlines was between 65.1 per cent and 78 per cent in December 2020, the DGCA data said.

“The passenger load factor in the month of December 2020 has shown declining trend compared to the previous month primarily due to the end of tourist season,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.

The occupancy rate at SpiceJet was 78 per cent last month, highest among the six major Indian carriers.

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A representational picture of passengers at an airport. Source: CTV News

Two-Month shutdown During Pandemic

India resumed domestic passenger flights on May 25 after a gap of two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Indian airlines are allowed to operate a maximum of 80 per cent of their pre-Covid-19 domestic flights.

The DGCA data mentioned that in December, IndiGo had the best on-time performance of 94.9 per cent at four metro airports – Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

In a statement quoted by PTI, Ronojoy Dutta, CEO, IndiGo, said, “On-time performance is one of the most critical aspects of customer service. But it is not possible to deliver a high OTP without a fully engaged employee workforce. I am delighted every time I see a winning OTP number, it signifies we are pleasing the customer and it signifies our employee culture is strong.”

AirAsia India and Vistara were at number two and three at these four airports in November with 89.9 per cent and 88.4 per cent on-time performance, respectively, the DGCA said.

The aviation sector has been significantly impacted due to the travel restrictions imposed in India and other countries in view of the coronavirus pandemic. As a fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, all airlines in India have taken cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts, leave without pay and firing of employees in order to tide over the crisis.