December month was one of the most fabulous for Indian Aviation as it depicted the growth achieved by the industry. December Month witnessed the Highest ever passengers carried by Indian Airlines domestically.
Record-Breaking December for Indian Aviation
In December 2023, Indian Airlines carried the highest ever number of domestic passengers. They handled a total of 13.8 million passengers. This is the result of the travel demand created by Christmas and New Year Eve celebrations. On a yearly basis, compared to December 2022, the industry has registered a growth of 8.4 percent. In December 2019, the pre-pandemic period, airlines carried a total of 13.21 million passengers. With respect to this number, December 2023 registered a surge of 6.1 percent. In December 2023, traffic levels were above the pre-pandemic level.
Enough talking about number of passengers, lets have a look at the number of departures of each airlines. In December 2023, airlines operated a total of 91,044 flights. In December 2022, this was 88,128 and in December 2019, it was 94,910. When compared to December 2022, airlines operated 3 percent more flights but operated less flights than pre-pandemic levels.
Why Less Flights?
You might be wondering that why Indian Airlines operated less flights in 2023 than 2019? Airlines are constantly adding aircraft after the pandemic. The answer lies in the aircraft grounding issues. India’s largest airline – IndiGo is currently struggling with Pratt & Whitney engine issues. More than 45 aircraft of IndiGo are currently grounded. It is expected that by March 2024, 75-80 aircraft will be on ground.
An airlines has gone bankrupt. GoFirst filed for insolvency proceedings in May 2023 and more than 50 Airbus aircraft are on ground since then. Around half of these aircraft are also grounded because of Pratt & Whitney engine issues. SpiceJet, another budget airline is suffering with cash crunch. As a result of which, many of its aircraft are grounded.
Low November to High December
Despite Diwali in November month, the passenger numbers were low. In December month, passenger numbers peaked because :
IndiGo added capacity : IndiGo inducted 11 wet leased Airbus A320ceos in its fleet. These aircraft were leased by Latvia-based lessor Smartlynx. These temporary wet leases were signed so as to mitigate demand during the festival season.
Promotional Sales : Various airlines introduced offering cheap fares in form of sales. Furthermore, there was a slight degrade in ticket cost when compared to November month.
Because of these reasons, traffic peaked in December month. In December, airlines handled 445,000 passengers on a daily basis. This is 22,000 more than the previous month.
In December month, when number of flights operated by airlines remained lower than pre-pandemic levels, in the same month, airlines recorded a huge number of inductions. Original Equipment Manufacturers in December month try to deliver as much aircraft to balance and improve their yearly delivery results.
As a result of this, IndiGo received delivery of 5 Airbus A320neo jets and Vistara received 3 Airbus A320neos. Talking about Boeing, Boeing delivered a record number of jets to Indian Airlines. Air India Express received delivery of 6 Boeing 737 MAX 8 while Akasa Air received 2 deliveries. Furthermore, Air India received deliveries of 2 widebody aircraft – an Airbus A350 registered as VT-JRA and a Boeing 777 registered as VT-AEP. Apart from this, the airline received 3 Airbus A320neos.
On an average, Indian airlines received 1 aircraft in every 36 hours in December month. This comes as a huge positive for the Indian aviation industry.
Source : Wion