India has crossed the 200,000 passengers daily record this week, marking the first time it has done so since flights resumed. The figure has long been awaited and implies India’s tough domestic aviation recovery. The government has also indicated that it will raise domestic capacity limits to 70-75% in acknowledgement to the increasing market.
In late August when India first reached a 33% domestic passenger recovery and growth has only arisen since then. On 1st November, 205,900 passengers took to the skies, showing over a 66% recovery correlated to average 2019 passenger figures. The event comes as India hopes for robust travel demand in the coming weeks due to festivals as many people living in cities will be travelling to their hometowns for celebrations.
The growth was present despite India having some of the world’s highest daily cases in September, countering trends in other countries. As the COVID-19 cases have fallen drastically in the last month, passenger numbers have recommenced to rise, reaching their current peak in early November.
Over 15 million passengers have flown on domestic flights since resumed in late May, signalling high confidence levels in passengers. Air travel remains one of the safest methods of travel, even safer than travelling in your own private vehicle. According to recent studies, with a meagre chance of contracting the virus on a flight.
What will be the next step?
With air-traffic growing every day, the government has announced that it plans on increasing the domestic capacity limit. The capacity lid will be increased to 70-75% from the current 60%, giving airlines more flights in the winter season. Currently, Indian airlines could only fly just under 13,000 in the winter season.
The Indian government has been slowly increasing the number of flights allowed as demand booms. Airlines were only allowed to fly 33% of their summer schedule when flights resumed, which was revised to 45% and 60% since then. It will not be surprising if the government removes away the restrictions by early next year by looking at the current pace of growth.