Jet effect: International air travel grows just 1%
Indian carriers flew 11.5% less people into India (over same period last year) and the decline in flying travellers out was 12.3%. Desi carriers’ share in foreign travel fell to 35% this April-June from 39% in the year-ago period.
However, the reasonable growth in January-March period over same quarter last year meant that the first half of this year still saw 3.7 lakh (about 1.1%) more international travellers than 3.2 crore in the first six months of 2018. A far cry from the 14.7% growth that the first half (H1) of 2018 had seen over same period in previous year.
Provisional April-June 2019 figures for international air travel of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) show the huge impact Jet’s April 17 closure had on international travel in the April-June quarter. Indian carriers flew 11.5% less people into India (over same period last year) and the decline in flying travellers out was 12.3%. Desi carriers’ share in foreign travel fell to 35% this April-June from 39% in the year-ago period. International carriers saw 5.8% more travellers to and from India in this period.
Aviation industry expects growth to rev up again from July-September quarter onwards. While improving cost environment for Indian carriers to enhance their sustainability by reducing tax on jet fuel and augmenting airport infra remains an unaccomplished task for almost 15 years now, the government acted swiftly after Jet’s collapse in giving its slots at Indian airports and international flying rights to other Indian carriers. All big Indian airlines added international flights on erstwhile Jet’s bilaterals to nearby places — Gulf and southeast Asia. The wide-bodied gap will also start filling up as Vistara begins inducting its Boeing 787 Dreamliners in next few weeks and use them on medium-haul routes like London and Tokyo.
“Based on available seat km (ASKM, which is a measure of passenger-carrying capacity arrived at multiplying number of seats available to number of km flown), about 40% of Jet’s vacant slots and flying rights were given to Air India Group, 30% to IndiGo followed by SpiceJet and others like Vistara and GoAir,” said a senior official.