Air passenger traffic in the country rose by just 1.2 percent year-on-year in September, primarily due to the end of tourist season, data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation showed.
This is the weakest month since April 2019, when the domestic air traffic had fallen by 4.5 percent.
The dismal performance in passenger traffic growth in September has brought down the expectations of the regulator for the entire year and it has now pegged the growth for 2019 at 4-6 percent.
"The numbers are disappointing. They have pulled down our projection and now, we peg it at 4 to 6 percent. The good news is that we have managed to withstand the sad exit of Jet Airways and maintained a positive growth despite three months of negative or almost flat growth. The loss in the fleet on account of Jet Airways has largely been recovered and we expect an all-time high fleet of more than 616 aircraft in the air in a month’s time from now. With some more aircraft joining our fleet by December 31, we expect a return to double-digit growth in the early part of next year," Director General Arun Kumar said.
IndiGo increased its market share to 48.2 percent in September from 47 percent in August. SpiceJet remained the second-largest airline in the domestic space but its share fell to 14.7 percent from 15.5 percent in August.
National carrier Air India was the third-largest player with 13 percent, followed by GoAir at 11.5 percent, AirAsia at 6.3 percent and Vistara at 5.8 percent.
In terms of load factor or capacity utilisation, SpiceJet continued to outperform others with 93 percent load factor in September as compared to 92.4 percent in August. Wadia group-owned GoAir had the second-highest load factor for September at 86.7 percent, followed by IndiGo at 86.5 percent.
GoAir remained the leader in on-time performance with a punctuality rate of 85.4 percent at four metro airports of Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. IndiGo was the second most punctual airline with on-time performance rate of 83.7 percent. Air India was the least punctual in September at 53.1 percent.