NEW DELHI: Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday said that the country's air passenger traffic is "within touching distance of pre-Covid numbers".
In a tweet, the Aviation Minister said: "2,90,518 passengers on 2,360 flights on 19 February is within touching distance of Pre-COVID numbers and marks revival of the domestic sector." "From transporting essential and medical supplies to movement of vaccines, civil aviation sector plays a significant role in efforts against COVID19." Since the resumption of operations on May 25, domestic air traffic continued to sequentially improve in January 2021.
The domestic passenger traffic rose 5.55 percent sequentially in January to 77.34 lakh passengers from 73.27 lakh reported for December 2020. However, on a year-on-year basis the January numbers stood 39.50 percent lower than 127.83 lakh reported for the corresponding period of the previous year.
At present, airlines can operate up to 80 percent of their pre-Covid capacity.
In a separate report, Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Thursday (18 February) said that the passenger load factor, a measure to assess how much of an airline's passenger carrying capacity has been utilised, during the previous month has shown a declining trend compared to December primarily due to the tourist season
The total number of passengers flown by the Indian carriers on domestic routes in January 2020 was 1.27 crore.
The load factor of six major domestic airlines--IndiGo, SpiceJet, Air India, GoAir, Vistara and AirAsia India -- stood between 70% and 64.9% in January, as per data.