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April domestic air travel growth slows to 13-month low; Air India grows

By Deepak Patel
May 22, 2024 14:45 IST
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The number of domestic air travelers in India grew 2.42 per cent year-on-year (Y-o-Y) in April, reaching 13.2 million, according to data by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday.


Photograph via X

It is the slowest Y-o-Y growth in domestic air passenger traffic in at least 13 months.

The sluggish growth can be attributed to multiple factors plaguing the aviation industry. IndiGo, the country's largest airline, grounded more than 70 planes due to issues with Pratt and Whitney (PW) engines.


SpiceJet consolidated its domestic services amid a cash crunch, while Vistara canceled over two per cent of its flights in April as pilots went on sick leave over salary disputes.

A high base effect – domestic air travel had witnessed a significant rebound in the previous year post-pandemic – also contributed to the muted growth figures.

Vistara carried 1.218 million domestic passengers in April, which was a 5.14 per cent decline month-on-month (M-o-M).

The airline also canceled 2.4 percent of its scheduled flights in April, the highest among all major carriers, according to DGCA data.

SpiceJet carried 6.17 million domestic passengers in April, marking a 12.1 per cent M-o-M drop.

Air India was the only major carrier that had M-o-M growth in its domestic traffic.

The Tata Group-run airline carried 18.8 million domestic passengers, marking a growth of 7.61 per cent.

In July 2023, PW disclosed that a condition in the powdered metal used for certain engine parts necessitated an accelerated fleet inspection.

Consequently, IndiGo, in November 2023, declared its decision to ground approximately 35 planes in the fourth quarter of 2023-24, pending inspections by PW.

This action adds to the existing situation for IndiGo.

Even before the powder metal issue arose, approximately 40 of its planes were already grounded due to an old issue in PW engines' geared turbofans.

IndiGo has some 370 aircraft in its fleet.

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Deepak Patel
Source: source

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