Domestic flights were more packed this June than they have been in the past five years, in contrast with the usual slump in fliers’ numbers with the onset of monsoon in India.
Data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation showed that more than eight out of every 10 seats in domestic flights were taken this June.
With the five-year average fliers’ occupancy being 79.3%, June 2011 came a close second to this mark, the data added.
“June usually marks the end of peak vacation period with schools opening in some parts of the country. However, this year with airfares remaining soft as well as attractive offers from airlines, load factors in June have been at a 5-year high,” said Sharat Dhall, president of travel portal Yatra.com.
He added that low oil prices and increasing capacity kept airfares low which pushed domestic traffic to grow.
Industry observers added that the trend assumed more importance because the number of domestic airlines has also gone up. “At least five new airlines have started operations over the past two years. Although some of them are regional carriers, it has immensely increased the number of the seats for domestic air travellers across the country,” said a member of the Civil Aviation Economic Advisory Council, a government appointed independent panel set up to address air travellers’ grievances.
Some travel companies have reported an almost three-fold rise in bookings during July and September, which is usually considered an “off-season”.
“Last few years have witnessed a dip in travel bookings as the four monsoon months are considered lean. However, this year rains have not acted as a deterrent for travellers,” said Rajesh Magow, co-founder and chief executive officer of MakeMyTrip.
He added that the portal recorded 2.8 times rise in bookings including 85% spike in international trips.