Domestic passenger traffic declines 65-67% in May compared to April: ICRA

For May 2021, India’s domestic passenger traffic is estimated at ~19-20 lakh, implying a sequential decline of ~65-67% compared to ~57.3 lakh in April 2021. With this, the domestic passenger traffic reached lower than the June-July 2020 levels. The airlines’ capacity deployment for May 2021 was lower by ~54-55% compared to April 2021 (~27,700 departures in May 2021, against ~60,300 departures in April 2021), indicating the lower demand stemming from averseness of consumers to travel due to the rise in infections.

According to Kinjal Shah, Vice President & Co-Group Head, ICRA, “For May 2021, the average daily departures were ~900, significantly lower than ~2,000 in April 2021. The average number of passengers per flight during May 2021 was 72, against an average of 93 passengers per flight in April 2021. The gradual decline depicts the continuing stress on demand, driven largely by the second wave of Covid-19, limiting travel to only necessary travel, while both leisure and business travel have been curtailed due to various state-wide restrictions and the spread of the infections.”

For May 2021, the international passenger traffic for Indian carriers under the Vande Bharat Mission was estimated at ~1.4 lakh, a sequential decline of ~61%. This was due to cancellation of flights to/from India by many countries like the US, the UK, Singapore, Kuwait, France, Canada, Australia, Iran, Indonesia and the UAE, which had air transport bubble (ATB) arrangements or are under the VBM, citing the increasing coronavirus cases. The international operations through VBM or the ATB route were the only source of revenue for airlines and the cancellation of flights by the destination countries will further impact the beleaguered domestic carriers.

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