Domestic air passenger traffic in November last year grew at the fastest pace in 2019, a year in which air travel has been hit by the twin blows of the closure of Jet Airways India Ltd and an economic slowdown. Indian airlines carried 12.95 million people in November, up 11.2 percent year-on-year. This was the fastest growth recorded since December 2018, according to data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Domestic passenger traffic growth in November 2019 was led by SpiceJet, which carried two million passengers in the month, a jump of 43 percent year-on-year, while India’s largest airline IndiGo carried six million passengers, up 21 percent. GoAir’s passenger traffic increased 39.5 percent to 1.4 million, while that of Air India increased by 10 percent to 1.5 million.
“The growth has come at the cost of pricing weakness that continued into November,” SBI Capital Markets said, referring to the low fares offered by most carriers to encourage more people to fly amid the economic downturn. Those fares helped fill more aircraft seats, especially with the onset of the tourist season. Ticket prices have been down for a few months, including October, when there was both Dussehra and Diwali. The weakness in ticket prices reflects the slowdown in the economy, similar to what has been seen in various other sectors. “An improvement in the economy will hold the key to pricing and thereby profitability,” SBI Capital said.