Flying in India is no more restricted to metros, according to an analysis of domestic flight bookings seen in November and December last year.
The study, conducted by travel portal MakeMyTrip, states about one-fourth of domestic air traffic in India comes from metros and top tier 2 cities, while the rest (76.6%) comes from smaller cities.
Metros and top tier-2 cities contribute mainly to traffic on top 15 domestic routes in metro cities namely Mumbai, Delhi, emerging tier-2 cities such as Pune and popular tourist hubs such as Goa, states the study.
“The air travel market in India has grown rapidly in one year due to lower airfares, increased seat capacity and expansion of the Indian economy that has resulting in higher disposable incomes. Air travel bookings have expanded beyond top cities, which is reflecting in our findings with almost 76.6% of air traffic coming from outside of the top 15 sectors,” said Rajesh Magow, co-founder and chief executive officer (India), MakeMytrip.
The study said despite initial reports of a demonetisation-induced slump in travel, smaller airports namely Silchar (100%), Jodhpur (82%), Indore (41%), Dimapur (41%) and Amritsar (30%) saw a surprising surge in travellers.
Among airports in metro cities, Kolkata (32%) saw the biggest surge in footfall, followed by Delhi (10%).
HT had reported about a steep spike in air ticket sales two days after the government banned Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes.
The study stated most prefer booking flight tickets early than those buying them closer to the date of travel, as it costs less.
Some domestic flights were 30% cheaper when booked a month in advance, according to the study. For instance, the average price of a flight to Kochi from any Indian destination is Rs4,145 when booked 30 days ago. The same journey could cost you Rs6,428 if booked a week before the journey.
The study added long-distance domestic flights (1,000km) were cheaper than first class train tickets when booked early, even though short haul ( up to 500km) ones were 33% steeper. A similar trend was seen in the portal’s earlier study on domestic travel in September and October.