Indian domestic traffic down 18% in 2008 Q4; international demand up 8%

Image: Kingfisher Airlines launch of new Sholapur-Mumbai services on February 10 2009
Subhash Gupte, Vice Chairman UB Group and Director Kingfisher Airlines, at the launch of new Sholapur-Mumbai services on February 10. The new route bucks the trend for 18% domestic declines – but given the extraordinary growth achieved in 2007 in reality demand has merely returned to the same levels as in 2006.

India’s domestic traffic continued to fall during the last three months of 2008 with passenger numbers on domestic flights down 14% in October, 21% in November and 19% in December. However, given the extraordinary growth rates achieved in 2007 what this means is that domestic demand in 2008 has returned to the same levels as in 2006.

Chart: Indian domestic air traffic “growth” (Year-on-year airport passenger change - 1/06 to 12/08)
Source: Airports Authority of India

A few airports bucked the trend in December with domestic traffic at Guwahati up 13% while smaller airports such as Bagdogra (+65%) and Chandigarh (+36%) also showed gains. Among the largest airports the new airport at Bangalore/Bengaluru saw domestic demand fall 30%.

International markets still buoyant

While the domestic market endures a difficult time international traffic is still growing, up 12% in October and also up in both November and December.

Chart: Indian international air traffic growth (Year-on-year airport passenger growth - 1/07 to 12/08)
Source: Airports Authority of India

In December when international traffic was up just 3.6% overall the airports with the biggest growth were Calicut (+56%), Cochin (+17%), Hyderabad (+16%) and Bangalore (+14%). The country’s biggest international airport at Mumbai saw a decline of 3.3%. Mumbai remained India’s busiest airport in 2008 handling 24.34 million passengers, a reduction of 3.6% on 2007.

Kingfisher now leading domestic airline

According to figures published by the Indian civil aviation ministry Kingfisher was the leading carrier of domestic passengers in January 2009.

Airline Passengers
January 2009
Market share
January 2009
Kingfisher 919,000 27.6%
Jet Airways / Jet Lite 837,000 25.1%
Air India 550,000 16.7%
IndiGo 457,000 13.8%
Spicejet 393,000 11.8%
GoAir 81,000 2.4%
Paramount 71,000 2.1%
MDLR 13,000 0.4%
Total 3,321,000 100%
Source: Indian Civil Aviation Ministry


Comments are closed