In a deviation from old flying trends, domestic flights recorded 84% packed capacity in July. The month is usually considered a lean travel period as it falls right after the summer vacation and sees heavy rainfall.
According to the data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Monday, the booking figures of domestic flights in July was only slightly lower than that in May, which is considered to be the peak summer month for travelling. The data also showed that the belief that there would be a drop in the number of fliers during the off-season and monsoon was outdated.
Most domestic flights in July were almost packed to full seats with only a handful high-fare seats remaining empty. This surge in air-travel during that part of the year, between June and September, is almost an unthinkable sales pattern, said travel operators.
“July is usually being a lean month for travel as very few passengers travel for leisure at that point of time, right after the summer vacations and during the monsoon. But it is encouraging for the travel industry to see traffic for the domestic passengers continue to grow at over 20%,” said Sharat Dhall, president with travel portal Yatra.com. He also said, “With oil prices continuing to remain benign and increasing air capacity, it is likely that airfares will stay low and this is likely to continue to boost the growth in domestic passenger traffic.” Dhall further added that government measures to connect smaller cities by air will further lead to increase in air traffic.
According to the data obtained from DGCA, domestic fliers’ occupancy in July was the highest in nearly a decade, (see box). This trend was witnessed in June as well.
“July has seen a huge growth in the domestic travel and a few reasons for this surge can be attributed to the scorching competition among airline companies that has been driven by low fares, rising demand for travel to smaller cities and steady growth in domestic tourism,” said Manmeet Ahluwalia, marketing head with Expedia in India. He added that the flying capacity to destinations such as Visakhapatnam Bhubaneswar, Kochi, Surat, Chandigarh etc. has gone up. “Between June and September is an off-season for the domestic passengers and so air fares have been slashed on domestic routes. Another reason for the increase in the number of fliers is that airline companies have increased the number of flights that they operate on the domestic routes,” he said.
Year-wise break up (in percentage) of domestic travelers in July