Green shoots in sky: 40% rise in domestic flyers in September


NEW DELHI: Domestic flyers are slowly, but surely, returning to the skies after flights within the country were allowed to resume from May-end. Last month saw 39.4 lakh domestic air travellers. While this is almost two-third or 66% less than 1.1 crore flyers in September, 2019, it was nearly 40% higher than the 28.3 domestic air travellers in August 2020 (with figure of last August being 1.2 crore).
According to DGCA data released on Wednesday, January-September 2020 has seen 4.4 crore domestic flyers — down 58% from 10.6 crore in same period last year.
Last Thursday, aviation minister H S Puri had said: “Domestic airlines will soon be allowed to increase their capacity to 75%, from 65% at present as we are seeing a healthy revival in air travel. When domestic flights resumed on May 25, we saw 30,000 passengers that day and this number crossed 1.7 lakh on October 3. Given this revival, we will soon allow 75% of originally approved schedule of domestic flights to be mounted by airlines,” adding he expected to return to the pre-Covid level of over 3 lakh daily domestic passengers between Diwali (November 14) and the year-end.
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The issue of refunds for tickets remains the biggest pain for travellers who found their flights cancelled. The regulator’s data shows September saw 450 passenger complaints and 82% of them were about refunds. The common complaints about refund are — delay; not getting the same or being refunded after a hefty cancellation fee being deducted from the amount.
In September 2020, IndiGo accounted for 57.5% of domestic air travel market share followed by SpiceJet at 13.4%. All other airlines’ domestic market share was in single digits last months — Air India at 9.4%; GoAir 6.7%; Vistara 6.6%; AirAsia India 6% and others accounting for the remaining 0.4%.

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