Aviation

Russia overtakes India in domestic air travel growth: IATA

DELHI: India is no longer the world’s fastest growing domestic air travel market. Russia overtook India by witnessing 16.7% growth in April 2017, over the same month last year, while India grew in this period at 15.3%, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The global average domestic air travel growth rate this April (over the same month last year) was 7.7% and in the new pecking order, India is at number two followed by China at 12.7%, Japan at 6.7% and the US at 4.7%, reports The Times of India.

India’s domestic air travel has been booming due to low crude prices, which in turn allowed airlines here to offer cheap airfares. But in the past two months as crude firmed up, airfares also rose and the domestic skies started becoming a tad less crowded in terms of growth slowing down.

Exactly two months ago, in March, IATA had said that India had been the world’s fastest growing domestic air market for 22 months in a row. This meant that till March, India saw the highest growth in domestic air travel over the same month in the previous year for almost two years.

“India led domestic air markets in year-to-year growth for the 22nd month in a row. January traffic soared 26.6%, marking the 15th consecutive month of 20%-plus annual growth. Demand is being stimulated by strong flight frequency,” IATA had said in a statement this March.

The Indian regulator’s data shows that from January 2016 to January 2017 — 13 months in a row — India saw domestic air travel growing at over 20% on a month-on-month basis. But from this February, the growth has slowed due to rising airfares, to almost 15%.

“The growth happened as low oil prices enabled airlines to offer cheap fares and lead to explosive growth of domestic aviation in India. Mumbai and Delhi desperately need more airport capacity,” said an airline official.

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