India Witnesses 56% Fall in Domestic Air Passenger Traffic in 2020

Civil Aviation

New Delhi: There was a fall of 56 per cent in India’s domestic air passenger traffic in 2020 from a year earlier with Covid-19 lockdowns and subsequent reduced capacity by airlines.

Domestic passenger traffic last year totalled 63 million compared with 144 million in 2019, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said. December traffic of 7.3 million fell by 44 per cent from 13 million a year earlier.

Government is planning to allow domestic airlines to increase flight capacity and forecasts air traffic returning to pre-pandemic levels in two to three months, civil aviation ministry officials said. Indian carriers were barred from flying for nearly two months until the end of May and international travel is still restricted.

The reduced flight activity has had a severe impact on India’s jet fuel consumption. Demand fell to 92,000 b/d in 2020 from 177,000 b/d a year earlier. It is forecast to shrink by over half to 81,000 b/d in the April 2019-March 2020 fiscal year from 173,000 b/d the previous year, according to the oil ministry.

Air travel globally fell by around 60 per cent last year to 1.8 billion passengers from 4.5 billion a year earlier, according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which forecasts demand will continue to be depressed in this year’s first quarter.

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