Air passenger traffic drops by 65 pc in May

New Delhi, Jun 3 (Agency) Domestic air passenger traffic nose dived by 65 per cent in May to 20 lakh due to rising COVID-19 infection, said credit rating agency ICRA in a release on Thursday. “For May 2021, domestic passenger traffic is estimated at about 19-20 lakh, implying a sequential decline of 65-67 per cent compared to around 57.3 lakh in April 2021. With this, the domestic passenger traffic reached lower than the June-July 2020 levels,” the release said.

ICRA further said that the airlines’ capacity deployment for May 2021 was lower by 54-55 per cent compared to April 2021 indicating the lower demand stemming from averseness of consumers to travel due to the rise in infections. “For May 2021, the average daily departures were around 900, significantly lower than nearly 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,” said Ms Kinjal Shah, Vice President & Co-Group Head, ICRA.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) permitted increasing the capacity deployment on domestic routes gradually from 33 per cent, with effect from May 25, 2020, to 80 per cent, with effect from December 03, 2020. However, it has reduced the permissible capacity deployment to 50 per cent of pre-Covid levels with effect from June 1, 2021 due to resurgence of the second wave of the pandemic.