Chennai: Domestic passenger traffic in the aviation sector has registered a sequential growth of 37 per cent in September. However, on a year-on-year basis, it is still down 66 per cent. Domestic passenger traffic in September grew to 39 lakh passengers, up 37 per cent from August.
In terms of capacity deployment too, the aviation sector saw a sequential recovery of 33 per cent over August, though it was down 46 per cent from September 2019 levels.
The average daily departures in September 2020 were 1,311, lower than the average daily departures of 2,874 in September 2019. But the departures were better than 930 in August 2020.
The average number of passengers per flight during September 2020 stood at 98, as against an average of 133 passengers per flight in September 2019.
“Thus, it is expected that the domestic aviation industry operated at a passenger load factor (PLF) of 63 per cent in September as against 85.5 per cent in the same month last year, that too on a low capacity. The PLF for September was similar to August despite the increase in capacity deployment by 37 per cent. Overall, from May 25 till September 30, the total domestic passenger traffic stood at 11 million,” said Kinjal Shah, vice president, ICRA.
The Civil Aviation ministry had permitted domestic flights to resume their operations from May 25 with one-third of their respective approved capacity of Summer Schedule 2020. Later, the capacity was increased to 45 per cent with effect from June 27. The ministry further permitted increasing the capacity to 60 per cent with effect from September 2.
Moreover, certain provisions like allowing airlines to provide meals on board, serving pre-packed snacks, meals or pre-packed beverages and allowing in-flight entertainment with riders were amended.
Under the Vande Bharat Mission, meant for evacuation of Indian citizens from foreign shores, the international passenger traffic (inbound and outbound) has been 8,41,634 for the period between May 7 and September 30. In September, the number of international passenger traffic was 2,08,893, a year-on-year decline of 89 per cent.
Meanwhile, aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices declined by 3.4 per cent in September from August levels. On a year-on-year basis, prices were 38 per cent down.
Crude oil prices had touched a low of $19 per barrel in April and have recovered to $42 a barrel. ATF prices too had increased sequentially by 24.1 per cent in July and by 4.2 per cent in August.