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India tops domestic air traffic demand for the 20th month

January 12, 2017 00:10 IST

Apart from India, only two other countries – Russia (15.5 per cent) and China (14.9 per cent) clocked double digit growth in November

India's domestic air passenger traffic grew by 22.3 per cent in November 2016, topping the growth chart worldwide for the 20th straight month while there was little sign of demonetisation having any immediate negative impact on passenger numbers, according to IATA.

The global grouping of airlines, on Wednesday, said India continued to witness over 20 per cent growth in domestic air passenger traffic for the 13th consecutive month in November 2016 -- when global passenger traffic too saw the strongest demand in nine months.

Globally, total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased 7.6 per cent compared to November 2015 while capacity -- available seat kilometres or ASKs -- went up by 6.5 per cent.

ASK for India stood at 20.2 per cent in November 2016.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said domestic India topped the growth chart for the 20th consecutive month.

Apart from India, only two other countries – Russia (15.5 per cent) and China (14.9 per cent) clocked double digit growth in November last year, as per IATA data.

While there was little sign in the latest passenger data of any immediate negative impact following the demonetisation of bank notes enacted on November 8, the seasonally-adjusted traffic trend has paused in recent months.

"Nonetheless, the annual growth rate remained above 20 per cent for the 13th month in a row," it said.

As part of larger efforts to curb black money menace and corruption, the government had cancelled Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes as legal tenders in November.

Coming out with the air traffic numbers for November 2016, IATA also said robust growth in India and China is being supported in both cases on multiple fronts, including sizeable increases in real consumer spending and growing options for passengers.

"Both Indian and Chinese airlines have increased the number of airport-pairs served in 2016 (although average flight frequencies in China have fallen compared to last year).

"Adding airport-pairs and flight frequencies reduces journey times for passengers and stimulates demand in a similar way to a cut in fares," it added.

IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said stronger demand for air travel reflects and is supporting a pick-up in the global economic cycle.

As the stimulus effect of lower oil prices recedes in the rear view mirror, the strength of the economic cycle would play a key role in the pace of demand growth in 2017, he added.

Out of the worldwide aviation market share, international segment accounts for 63.5 per cent while 36.5 per cent is made up by the domestic sector.

IATA represents nearly 265 airlines comprising 83 per cent of global air traffic.

Photograph: Reuters

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