April 2022: New high for Traffic, Oil and Rupee

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) declared the traffic summary for April this afternoon. A total of 1 crore and 8 lakh passengers (108.8 lakh) passengers flew in April 2022, which is a marginal increase over the previous month.

April was special in more ways than one. Since the restart post pandemic, the first time when domestic traffic crossed the 4 lakh per day mark was on April 17, 2022. The month also recorded the highest flight count post restart when it clocked 2880 flights on April 18, 2022. Airlines operated 81,777 flights in April, compared to 77,812 in March. This is an increase of 5.1%.

The LCC – FSC split for April was 84.1% in favour of LCCs, as Air India dropped its market share.

Load Factor and Market Share

The run for over half the market on the domestic front continues for IndiGo, with the share at 58.9% in April. The second position has been a rotating trophy for the last few months. In April, the second position was with Go FIRST with a market share of 10.2%. The months of January, February and March have seen the second spot being taken up by SpiceJet, Air India and Go First respectively. SpiceJet followed with 9.2% market share. Vistara sprung ahead of Air India recording 8.3% market share as compared to 7.6% of Air India. 

There could be a clear winner in second place soon if Air India decides to merge AirAsia India into itself. If the group decides to merge AirAsia India with Air India express, then the tussle for second place will continue as has been the case in the last couple of months. What is clear is that SpiceJet which had an unhindered run at the second spot has been losing the plot and will find it very difficult to claw back, unless it is recapitalised and decides to aggressively add capacity.

On the load factor front, SpiceJet continued to lead the charts with 85.9% load factor. Vistara recorded 82.9% while Go FIRST recorded 80.3%. Regional carrier Star Air was at 81.9% while every other airline had load factors below 80% mark.

OTP and Popular routes

The On Time Performance across airlines continued to be good except for Alliance Air – the only government owned airline. AirAsia India topped the charts with 94.8%, followed by Vistara at 90.9%. IndiGo, SpiceJet, Go FIRST and Air India followed at 90.1%, 89.2%, 87.2% and 81.8% respectively. Alliance Air occupied the bottom spot at 63% OTP.

Return of traffic has also meant that certain routes saw seats sold in the highest fare brackets. Below are the airlines and sectors where the airlines sold over 1% of their seats in highest fare brackets.

Air India

  • Kolkata – Port Blair
  • Delhi – Leh
  • Delhi – Srinagar
  • Chennai – Port Blair

IndiGo

  • Mumbai – Hyderabad
  • Kolkata – Port Blair
  • Delhi – Leh
  • Chennai – Port Blair

Go FIRST

  • Mumbai – Srinagar
  • Kolkata – Guwahati
  • Kolkata – Port Blair
  • Delhi – Leh
  • Chennai – Port Blair

SpiceJet

  • Kolkata – Port Blair
  • Delhi – Leh
  • Chennai – Port Blair

Vistara

  • Bengaluru – Delhi
  • Delhi – Leh
  • Delhi – Srinagar

The airline has been pounded hard by the increasing prices of Aviation Turbine Fuel and the sliding Rupee. ATF comprises around 35% of total expenditure for the airline while between 20% to 30% costs are dollar denominated for an airline. The below tweets will help understand the situation better.

Outlook

The month of May seems to be doing better than April. While there has not been any peak weekend as such, overall the traffic and flight deployment has been higher than April. However the costs have gone up even further!

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