India's domestic air passenger traffic crashed by over 57% in October on a year-on-year basis, as rising COVID-19 cases continued to disrupt the already heavily impacted sector. According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), passengers ferried by domestic airlines during October declined to 52.71 lakh as against 1.23 crore for the corresponding period of the previous year.
"Passengers carried by domestic airlines during Jan-Oct 2020 were 493.31 lakh as against 1182.06 lakh during the corresponding period of previous year, thereby registering annual growth of (-) 58.27 per cent and monthly growth of (-) 57.2 per cent," the DGCA data report said.
As per the DGCA data, air passenger traffic had grown after the first quarter period of current fiscal when the impact of COVID-19 related lockdown brought travel to almost a grinding halt. Though the unlock phase and gradual opening up of the economic has improved air travel in subsequent months, it is still way below last year's numbers.
Against a drop in domestic passenger traffic to 22.65 lakh in April-June quarter of current year, passenger traffic rose to 88.82 in the July-September quarter. It is expected to further rise in October-December quarter depending on the progress in checking the COVID pandemic.
"The passenger load factor in the month of October 2020 has shown some recovery due to increased demand after opening of lockdown and onset of festive season," the DGCA report said.
Almost all airlines saw a growth in passenger load factor in October as compared to previous month barring Pawan Hans.