India’s largest airline IndiGo remained at the fourth spot in on-time performance (OTP) at four metro airports, while Tata Group’s Air India, Vistara, and AirAsia clinched the top three spots in October.
SpiceJet and Go First were the least punctual airlines during the month, according to data provided by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) tracking four airports: Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.
While Air India’s OTP stood at 90.8%, followed by Vistara’s 89.1%, Go First came last for the second consecutive month with 60.7% scored in October. Go First has grounded a fifth of its inventory due to engine shortage issues.
IndiGo’s OTP issues were compounded by the grounding of at least 30 aircraft due to supply chain issues. Though the number of passengers flown by IndiGo was at a five-month best, the airline’s market share hit a multi-month low.
At 56.7% IndiGo’s market share stood at a five-month low, though the airline ferried 6.47 million passengers in October. AirAsia and new carriers Akasa Air, Fly Big, and Star Air grabbed some of the market shares from IndiGo, Vistara, and Go First.
IndiGo’s passenger load factor (PLF) in October at 82.1% was the best since February, while Vistara’s at 85.5% was the best since March. Air India’s PLF during the same month stood at 82.7%. Akasa Air’s PLF was 77.5% in October.
Domestic air passenger traffic in October hit a five-month high, helped by robust demand during the festive season and long holiday weekends.
According to the DGCA, Indian airline companies recorded a 27% growth in the number of passengers carried in October at 11.4 million over the same month last year. The number had previously reached 11.46 million in May.
Suprio Banerjee, vice president & sector head – of corporate ratings, Icra, said, “The airlines’ capacity deployment in October 2022 was around 16% higher than in October 2021. However, it was lower by around 11% than the pre-Covid levels.”
A quick recovery in domestic passenger traffic is expected in FY23, aided by normalcy in operations and the waning pandemic. However, the earnings recovery for domestic airlines will be slow-paced due to elevated aviation turbine fuel prices, in addition to the rupee depreciation against the US dollar amid a heightened competitive environment, Icra said.