Domestic air passenger traffic up by 2 pc in Sep: ICRA

New Delhi, Oct 11 (Agency) As the domestic aviation industry continues to witness recovery, air passenger traffic rose by 2 per cent to 1.03 crore in September 2022 compared to 1.01 crore in August this year, rating agency ICRA said on Tuesday. The increase in domestic air passenger traffic was 46 per cent higher in comparison to the domestic passenger traffic in September 2021, the rating agency said. However, it fell short by 10 per cent, compared to pre-Covid levels i.e. September 2019, it said. For April-September 2022 period, domestic passenger traffic is estimated at 627 lakh, a YoY growth of 111 per cent and lower by 11 per cent compared to April-September 2019 (pre-covid levels), a report prepared by Suprio Banerjee, Vice President and Sector Head – Corporate Ratings, ICRA Limited, said.

”The airlines’ capacity deployment in September 2022 was 27 per cent higher than September 2021. However, it was lower by 9 per cent than the pre-Covid levels. It is estimated that the domestic aviation industry operated at a passenger load factor (PLF) of 84 per cent in September 2022, against 73 per cent in September 2021 and 86 per cent in September 2019. The international passenger traffic for Indian carriers in September 2022 strongly surpassed the pre-Covid level of 25.1 lakh by 34 per cent,” the rating agency said.A steady rise in prices of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) and a general inflationary environment continue to dampen the industry earnings, with ATF prices in October 2022 higher by 60 per cent on a Y-o-Y basis.

However, the same declined by 4.5 per cent sequentially.While airlines have been increasing yields, in ICRA`s view the same has not been adequate to offset the impact of the rising ATF prices, the agency said.”A quick recovery in domestic passenger traffic is expected in FY2023, aided by normalcy in operations and a waning pandemic. However, the earnings recovery for domestic airlines will be slow-paced due to elevated ATF prices in addition to the rupee depreciation against the US$ amid a heightened competitive environment,” it said.