May 2022: Air India the only airline to lose passengers in best month since restart

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) declared the traffic statistics for May this afternoon. A total of 1 crore and 20 lakh passengers flew in May 2022. This is 10 lakh more than the previous month and the best ever month since the restart of scheduled domestic flights in Indian skies in May 2020!

The month of May saw 83,550 flights being deployed across airlines which was only 2.16% more than April but lower than April in true sense since May has a day more than April. On an average, each day of May saw 7000 more passengers than each day in April. 

Read: April 2022: New high for Traffic, Oil and Rupee

The LCC – FSC split for May was 85.1% in favour of LCCs, as Air India dropped its market share. Government owned Alliance Air has a market share of 1% and is being counted in LCC for this calculation.

Load Factor and Market Share

There are little surprises when it comes to load factor and market share. SpiceJet continued its journey at the top of Load Factor charts recording 89.1% load factor. This was followed by Go FIRST at 86.5%. Market leader IndiGo had a modest 81% load factor in May, which was lower than Vistara which clocked 84.8%.

IndiGo maintained its pole position on the market share front and that is unlikely to change for a foreseeable future. Go FIRST retained its number two spot with 10.6% market share. Every airline except Air India carried more passengers in May than April. The now privatised entity saw a drop in market share as a result of decreased passenger numbers. Prima facie it looks like the reduction is due to lower deployment of capacity which could be due to lack of aeroplanes or due to cutting down of non-profitable sectors.

OTP and popular routes

AirAsia India came out on top with the highest OTP at four metro airports. The airline clocked 90.8% OTP. This was followed by Vistara (87.5%), IndiGo (82%), Air India (81%), Go FIRST (71.8%), SpiceJet (70.9%) and Alliance Air (67.7%).

While the month saw highest loads and traffic, it also saw fares reach new high, along with costs as well! Delhi – Leh was a route in demand with Air India selling 15.85% of its seats in the highest fare bracket which helped it earn 26.5% revenue in the highest fare bracket in the sector. IndiGo sold 17.9% seats in this sector in the highest fare bracket, earning 15.1% revenue in the highest fare bracket. For Go FIRST, these numbers stood at 14.33% of seats and 29.85% in terms of revenue. For Vistara, the numbers stood at 11.28% of seats and 21.38% in terms of revenue. 

Air India gained substantial revenue in the highest fare bracket on other sectors like Chennai – Port Blair, Delhi – Patna and Delhi – Srinagar. IndiGo saw sectors like Mumbai – Hyderabad, Delhi – Dehradun, Chennai – Port Blair, Delhi – Srinagar amongst those where it earned over 1% of revenue in the highest fare bracket. Go FIRST saw high demand in multiple sectors with Mumbai – Srinagar, Chennai – Port Blair, Delhi – Srinagar being the best performers. Vistara saw good traction and pricing power on Delhi – Srinagar and Kolkata – Port Blair sectors. 

Outlook

June has been flattish and the growth is slowing down. This is coupled with an unwanted trio – higher prices of ATF, sliding rupee and schools reopening which signals the end of tourist season. A look at how the rupee has been sliding and oil has been climbing shows how the current times are for the airline industry

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