Geneva: India’s domestic air passenger traffic rose just 3.1 per cent in March, down from February’s growth of 8.3 per cent and well-off the torrid five-year average growth pace of close to 20 per cent per month, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
“The slowdown largely reflects the reduction in flight operations of Jet Airways — which stopped flying in April — as well as disruptions at Mumbai airport owing to construction,” said the aviation body representing 290 airlines which comprise 82 per cent of global air traffic.
Rising airfares in recent months are also likely to have weighed upon passenger demand, IATA said in a statement.
Global passenger traffic results for March 2019 also show that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 3.1 per cent compared to the same month a year ago, which was the slowest pace for any month in nine years.
This largely was owing to the timing of the Easter holiday which fell nearly a month later than in 2018. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the underlying growth rate has been relatively steady since October 2018 at a 4.1 per cent annualised pace.
Capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) for the month of March grew 4.2 per cent and load factor dropped 0.9 percentage point to 81.7 per cent.
“While traffic growth slowed considerably in March, we do not see the month as a bellwether for the rest of 2019,” said IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
“Nevertheless, the economic backdrop has become somewhat less favourable with the International Monetary Fund having recently revised its GDP outlook downward for a fourth time in the past year,” he said.