India sees fall in air traffic demand this February

NEW DELHI: India is the only domestic market in the world to see a decline in air traffic demand this February compared to last year, even as global traffic continued to show “solid” growth in the same month, IATA said on Thursday.
India’s domestic air traffic fell 1.8 per cent in February, compared to the same month in 2013, making it “the only domestic market to see a contraction in demand,” the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on the latest global air traffic figures.
“Subdued consumer sentiment ahead of the upcoming election as well as elevated fare levels compared to a year ago, are likely to be exerting downward pressure on demand,” it said in its analysis of the data for February 2014.
Indian carriers’ revenue per kilometre (RPK), which measures the volume of passengers carried by the airlines, declined by 1.8 per cent, while its average seat per km (ASKM), measuring available passenger carrying capacity of airlines, stood at 6.6 per cent.
Passenger load factor or the average space filled in an aircraft stood at 73.2 per cent, the IATA data showed.
While global passenger traffic showed a demand growth of 5.4 per cent compared to February 2013, Asia Pacific carriers together recorded an increase of four per cent, mainly due to related developments in China.
Middle Eastern carriers had the strongest year-over-year traffic growth at 13.4 per cent, as airlines there continued to benefit from the strength of regional economies and solid growth in business-related premium travel, the IATA said.
Its Director General and CEO Tony Tyler said the strong demand was consistent with “the pick-up in global economic growth, particularly in advanced economies”.
But, governments which “treat aviation as if it were a luxury item — or a necessary evil — are depriving their populations of a key engine of growth and job creation,” he added.