New Delhi - Despite a hike in air fares, India's domestic air passenger traffic rose by 16.53% in May on the back of the holiday season and sale offers.
According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), 1.18 crore (118.56 lakh) passengers were ferried by domestic airlines during the month under review from 1.01 crore (101.74 lakh) reported during the corresponding month of 2017.
On a sequential basis, the traffic grew by around three per cent. It had risen to 115.13 lakh in April 2018, while in March it had grown to 115.80 lakh.
As per the data furnished by the DGCA, the passenger traffic during the January-May 2018 period grew by over 22%.
"Passengers carried by domestic airlines during January-May 2018 were 571.58 lakh as against 465.87 lakh during the corresponding period of previous year thereby registering a growth of 22.69%," the DGCA said in its monthly domestic traffic report.
The data disclosed that low-cost carrier SpiceJet had the highest passenger load factor (PLF) -- a measure of capacity utilisation of the airline -- at 94.8% during May.
"SpiceJet has yet again recorded the highest PLF in the industry. This is the 38th month in a row that we have flown with the highest loads in the Indian aviation market which is a testament of the combined effort put in by Team SpiceJet," said Shilpa Bhatia, Chief Sales and Revenue Officer, SpiceJet.
SpiceJet was followed by IndiGo with a PLF of 91%, AirAsia India at 89.7% and GoAir at 89.2%.
"The passenger load factor in the month of May 2018 has shown increasing trend compared to previous month primarily due to onset of tourist season," the monthly statistical analysis statement said.
The data noted that IndiGo led the industry with 80.9% punctuality rate (on-time performance) at the four major airports of Bengaluru, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. It was followed by SpiceJet (80) and Vistara (76.7).
Besides, overall cancellation rate of scheduled domestic airlines for May 2018 stood at 0.70%.
In addition, the data disclosed that a total of 724 passenger-related complaints were received last month.
"The number of complaints per 10,000 passengers carried for the month of May 2018 has been around 0.61," the statement said.
The data revealed that IndiGo led the industry with the highest market share of 40.9%, followed by Jet Airways (13.7), Air India (12.8), SpiceJet (12.3), and GoAir (8.7).
AirAsia India had a market share of 5.5%, followed by Vistara (4), JetLite (1.5) and Trujet (0.5).
"Despite the anticipated spike in May, growth in comparison to the same time last year has only been 17%, as opposed to 26% in April and 28% in March," said Aloke Bajpai, ixigo CEO and Co-founder.
"This is owing to the increase in fuel prices and travel in particular sectors becoming expensive. However, despite the increase in ATF surcharge and fuel prices, many airlines are seeing the increased demand as a great opportunity to attract travellers with discounts and offers for the ongoing holiday season."
Online travel company Yatra.com's COO (B2C) Sharat Dhall said: "The airlines have responded to this by increasing number of flights to existing sectors. We have also seen that to sustain and further enhance this momentum, airlines have announced airfare sales for the upcoming traditionally lean period to pick up a significant share of advance bookings."
"We are confident that this trend of strong growth in the domestic aviation market will continue in the near to medium term."