International passenger traffic for Indian airlines may have declined since June with the end of peak travel season, but continues to be robust compared with the levels witnessed in the same month pre-COVID, according to rating agency ICRA.
In August, airlines ferried 32% more passengers than the 19.8 lakh recorded in August 2019, ICRA said.
In July, this figure was 23 lakh international passengers which was 25% more than July 2019.
June recorded the highest number of international passengers at 44 lakh so far this year, which was 79% of pre-COVID levels, according to ICRA. International flights resumed fully from March 27.
Domestic passenger traffic for last month stood at 1.02 crore, which is 5% more than July, but 14% lower than August 2019.
Airlines deployed almost 37% more capacity in August 2022 compared with the year earlier period, though this was lower by 10% than pre-COVID levels. Passenger load factor (or seat occupancy) for the domestic aviation industry was at 80% last month, higher than 72% seen last year. It was 85% in 2019.
“A quick recovery in domestic passenger traffic is expected in FY2023, aided by normalcy in operations and waning pandemic. However, the earnings recovery for domestic airlines will be slow-paced due to elevated ATF prices in addition to the rupee depreciation against the U.S. Dollar amid a heightened competitive environment,” said Suprio Banerjee, Vice President and Sector Head – Corporate Ratings, ICRA Limited.