June 2022: Sudden drop in traffic as seasonality and high fares set in

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) declared the traffic statistics for June this afternoon. A total of One crore and Five lakh passengers flew in June 2022. This is a drop of 9.55 lakh over the previous month, which was the best ever since restart of scheduled domestic flights in Indian skies in May 2020.

While the costs have been increasing steadily and so have been the fares, the drop in passenger numbers is largely due to seasonality setting in. Typically, the second half of June sees a drop in passenger numbers as schools restart and rains start covering a large part of the country leading to a culmination of the tourist season. However the drop is a sharp 8% sequentially and is much higher than what it was in 2019 or 2018.

The month saw 83,103 domestic departures, which is 2.78% lower on a daily average basis. On an average, June saw approximately 17,500 fewer passengers per day than May. 

Read: May 2022: Air India the only airline to lose passengers

The LCC-FSC split in June was 83.1% in favor of LCCs, with FSC’s gaining market share in June. Government owned Alliance Air is being counted in LCC for this calculation.

Load Factor and Market Share

SpiceJet continued its journey at the top of load factor charts recording 84.1% load factor. It was followed by Vistara at 83.8%. Star Air was third at 81.8%. All other LCCs were below the 80% mark. Regional carrier flybig which expanded to newer points in Central India continued to struggle with just 54.2% load factor. Flybig operates an all ATR fleet.

IndiGo upped its market share to 56.9%, the highest so far this year and just shy of its highest ever market share. SpiceJet bounced back to number two spot with a 9.5% market share, same as Go FIRST but slightly higher passengers than Go FIRST. Vistara was the only airline to buck the trend and carried more passengers in June than May!

OTP and popular routes

AirAsia India’s leadership on the OTP front continued at four metro airports. The airline recorded 89.8% OTP. This was followed by sister carrier Vistara at 86.4%. IndiGo came third at 84.5%. Air India (83.1%), SpiceJet (79.4%) and Go FIRST (76%) followed. State owned Alliance Air was last at 66.4%. 

While the peak season came towards an end, there were a few routes which saw very high demand. The topmost was Delhi – Leh sector where Air India sold 27% of seats in the highest bucket garnering 41% of revenue earned in the highest fare bracket. For IndiGo, it had 20% seats and 19.5% revenue, Go FIRST had 21% seats and 41% revenue. For Vistara it was 18% seats and 34% revenue from highest fare bracket on this route

Delhi – Srinagar was another route in demand with Air India selling 3.8% of its seats with 7.1% revenue in the highest fare bracket. Go FIRST sold a considerable inventory on routes like Mumbai – Kolkata, Mumbai – Chennai, Delhi – Srinagar, Delhi – Kolkata, Kolkata – Port Blair, Delhi – Patna in highest inventory. 

Q2-CY2022

IndiGo continued its market leadership with 56.3% market share, up 2.5%. Go FIRST was second with 10.4% market share. Air India and SpiceJet lost market share while AirAsia India and Vistara remained flat.

From the airline standpoint, this was the best ever quarter since the restart post pandemic lockdown.

Outlook

July has seen a considerable drop in traffic. The month has also seen HR challenges across airlines. Coupled with a steady rise in COVID cases, the going isn’t exactly smooth thus far. With eight more days for the month to close – the traffic is not going to get better. The hopes are now in August and the subsequent long weekends and travel season. The falling rupee does not bring any solace but the dropping crude prices do!

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