For the first time, air travel volume breached the 10-million mark in October clipping at a healthy 20.52 per cent over the same period a year ago.
For the reporting month, the carriers flew as much as 10.45 million passengers. The combined passenger traffic of all airlines was 8.67 million in October 2016, according to the data released by the regulator DGCA.
During the month, all major airlines barring the disinvestment-bound national carrier Air India logged a healthy passenger load factor at above 80 per cent owing to the onset of festive season, as per the DGCA passenger data for October. The PLF is a measure of how full the plane flies.
Budget carrier IndiGo flew the most number of passengers at 41.33 lakh, while the second largest player Jet Airways was at a distant second with 15.88 lakh passengers.
However, Air India unseated budget carrier SpiceJet for the third spot with 13.66 lakh passengers against 13.64 lakh flown by the Ajay Singh-promoted private airline.
GoAir and AirAsia India, the two other budget carriers, flew 9.24 lakh and 4.52 lakh passengers, respectively, during the month, as per the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) data.
Vistara, the third full-service carrier after Air India and Jet Airways, ferried 3.70 lakh in the month.
During the month, SpiceJet saw its planes flying with over 90 per cent seat occupancy for the 31st consecutive time at 93.7 per cent. As against this, Air India flew with almost a quarter of seats empty with a PLF of just 76.6 per cent in October.
“This is the 31st month-in-a-row that SpiceJet has flown with load factors in excess of 90 per cent,” a SpiceJet said in a statement.
With maximum number of domestic passengers in its kitty, IndiGo also increased its market share by nearly a percentage points to 39.5 per cent, up from 38.2 per cent in the previous month, followed by Jet Airways with 15.88 per cent, according to the data.
Interestingly, the market share of both Air India and SpiceJet stood at 13.1 per cent, each.
IndiGo also clocked the best on time performance (OTP) from four metro airports with 83.9 per cent of its flights arriving and departing as per scheduled time followed by SpiceJet at 83.3 per cent.
The Naresh Goyal-owned Jet continued to fare poorly in operating its flights on time as almost one-third of its aircraft failing to take-off or land on time during the month.
The OTP of airlines is computed for four metro airports–Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
Reacting to the numbers, leading travel portal Yatra.com said the passenger traffic has remained strong as a result of increased passenger load in the peak festive season.
“Continuous capacity expansion by airlines on popular routes, addition of new sectors and slightly lower fares added to the growth momentum. We anticipate that Christmas and New Years bonanza will further accelerate the passenger traffic in the coming month,” Yatra said in statement.