According to ICRA‘s latest report, India’s domestic air passenger traffic for September 2023 is estimated at approximately 122.7 lakh passengers, displaying a marginal decrease of about 1.3 per cent compared to August 2023 when it stood at around 124.2 lakh passengers.
Despite this slight dip, the data reveals a noteworthy year-on-year growth of approximately 19 per cent as compared to September 2022, which witnessed roughly 103 lakh passengers. Additionally, September 2023 also surpasses pre-Covid levels in September 2019 by approximately 7 per cent, when the traffic count was around 117 lakh passengers.
For the first half of FY2024, spanning from April to September 2023, the domestic air passenger traffic totaled around 753.79 lakh passengers. This represents a significant year-on-year growth of 20 per cent when compared to the same period in FY2023 (April-September 2022) when the traffic count was around 626.68 lakh passengers. Moreover, this figure is roughly 7 per cent higher than the pre-Covid levels witnessed in the corresponding period of April-September 2019, which stood at 703.93 lakh passengers.
Furthermore, airline operators in September 2023 deployed a capacity that was around 10 per cent higher than the capacity deployed in September 2022. However, it is important to note that the current capacity remains slightly lower, by approximately 0.5 per cent, when compared to the pre-COVID levels of September 2019.In September 2023, it is estimated that the domestic aviation industry operated at a passenger load factor (PLF) of approximately 89 per cent. This is a significant increase compared to September 2022 when the PLF was around 82 per cent and, more interestingly, it is marginally higher than the pre-COVID PLF levels of September 2019, which stood at around 86 per cent.
Additionally, in the fiscal year 2024, Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) prices exhibited a sequential decline up until June 2023. Subsequently, there has been a steady increase in ATF prices, with a 5 per cent hike in October 2023. This upward trend is significant as it marks the first YoY increase in ATF prices for FY2024, with a growth of 1.3 per cent in October 2023. This increase is attributed to the rising crude oil prices observed over the past four months.