Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Domestic air traffic down 5% in 2008

The Kingfisher-Kingfisher Red grouping ousted Jet-Jetlite from the top spot in the Indian aviation market in December, according to data released by the ministry of civil aviation today. Confirming the airline industry\'s estimates, domestic passenger traffic for the calendar year 2008 showed a decline of five per cent compared to the previous year.

Total air traffic carried in 2008 stood at 40.8 million, compared with 42.9 million in the previous year. The slowdown occurred in the second half of 2008, when air traffic fell by 16.20 per cent compared to the same period a year ago, while it increased by around eight per cent in the initial six months.

The steepest fall came in the fourth quarter (October-December), when air traffic fell by 17.39 per cent. The price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) rose by around 56 per cent between January and August, with a consequent rise in air fares. But though the prices fell by around 54 per cent from August to January, this was not matched with a similar cut in fares.

Domestic air traffic for December 2008 fell by 17.17 per cent compared to the same period last year. While average yearly market share figures for most of the carriers remained constant in 2008 compared to 2007, Kingfisher Red (previously Air Deccan) saw its share dip from 17.1 per cent to 12.2 per cent in 2008.

Delhi-based low-cost carrier IndiGo garnered 11.6 per cent of the market, compared with 7.6 per cent the previous year. Full service carrier Jet Airways\' share of the market shrank from 19 per cent to 16.7 per cent, while national carrier Air India\'s share decreased from 18 per cent to 16.8 per cent. Full service carriers lost some market share to low-cost carriers, mainly because the latter introduced fresh capacity.

Excepting Paramount, which has a very slight presence in the market, IndiGo had the highest loads of 75.5 per cent. The industry average loads for the month stood at around 69 per cent.

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