India’s domestic aviation traffic has recorded its first negative growth rate in April since January 2014, according to The International Air Transport Association (IATA). The domestic traffic has fallen 0.5% year-on-year. The demise of Jet Airways is cited as a possible reason for this drop.
Over the past five years, annual growth has averaged a pace close to 20%. The main explanation for this dramatic slowing is the exit of Jet Airways from the market. This sizeable supply side interruption has not yet been offset by other carriers, resulting in ASK (Available Seat Kilometer) growth also slowing sharply, to just 0.5% year-on-year currently (compared to an average pace of around 15% in the past two years). More broadly, rising airfares in recent months are also likely to have weighed upon passenger demand, the report cited. ASK is an indicator of the capacity.
The demand for domestic travel has increased by 2.8% in April compared to last year, but it is down from 4.1% growth in March year-on-year. The capacity has increased by 3.2%, and the passenger load factor dropped 0.3% to 83.2%.
We experienced solid but not exceptional rising demand for air connectivity in April. This is partly owing to the timing of Easter, but also reflects the slowing global economy. Driven by tariffs and trade disputes, global trade is falling, and as a result, we are not seeing traffic growing at the same levels as a year ago. But, airlines are doing an excellent job of managing aircraft utilization, leading to record load factors, said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General.
Asia-Pacific carriers posted a 2.9% increase in the traffic in April, up from 2% in March. But, the rate is below the long-term average, according to IATA. Global passenger traffic for April 2019 rose by 4.3% compared to April 2018. Regionally, Africa, Europe and Latin America posted record load factors.
The International Air Transport Association is a grouping of 290 airlines. Air India, Vistara, SpiceJet and the grounded Jet Airways are among the Indian carriers that are members of the IATA.