Early August this year, Raman Joshi, a middle-level marketing executive for a retail company was shocked when his company told him to take trains for long-distance business trips. That was the time that the Indian aviation industry began to slip on soaring oil prices.
Last month, the 36-year-old was pleasantly surprised when the company booked him on a budget carrier. “It was an economy class ticket but nevertheless less exhausting than a train trip,” said Joshi.
With oil prices cooling, domestic carriers have waived off fuel surcharge — a fat component on the air ticket. And the results are showing.
Going by the passengers figures recorded by Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), passenger traffic increased by nearly 46,000 in November over October. “We consider it a marginal increase,” said a MIAL spokesperson.
Total fliers — domestic and international — rose from 18,32,618 to 18,78,555 in November. International travellers rose by 33,571 passengers. Domestic fliers increased by about 12,366.
Airlines such as SpiceJet, which had elimitated some sectors, are now re-introducing flights with the return fo the air passenger.
Interestingly, November, the month, which saw the surprise spike in passenger traffic, is not a holiday month. “Waiving off of the fuel surcharge is one of the main factors in reviving traffic,” said Gurcharan Bhatura, secretary general of Federation for Aviation and Sustainable Tourism, an industry think tank.