India has returned to pre-pandemic traffic levels exactly two years and one month after suspending all domestic flights. On April 17th, 407,900 passengers flew within the country, bringing the total back to 2019 levels and indicating that the long-awaited rebound has arrived.
Since domestic flights resumed in May 2020, Indian airlines have experienced a series of setbacks, ranging from the government's decision to limit capacity and ticket rates to waves of COVID, which caused revenue to fall. The Omicron wave dealt the most recent hit in January.
However, it appears that the domestic aviation industry is on the rebound. India registered 407,975 passengers on Friday, April 17th, boosted by vacation travel over the Easter long weekend. The same day, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia remarked about the event, saying ANI, "It was a very difficult time in the previous years due to the Covid pandemic. We have seen over 3.7, 3.8 and 3.9 lakh passengers in a day over the last 10 days. I'm confident that travelling, both domestically and internationally, in India is coming back strong."
The next day, the number fell slightly to 398,300 passengers, and it now remains around 350,000 passengers on a regular basis. Breaking the 400,000-passenger barrier, on the other hand, reminds airlines that the 2019 average of 425,000 passengers is still possible, although in a very different market than before.