NEW DELHI: Domestic air travel has again touched all time highs this summer but growth has been capped by high fares caused by a serious capacity crunch. DGCA data shows about 1.4 crore people flew within the country this May, almost the same as the peak seen last December. However, growth is capped at about 4% (1.3 crore domestic flyers last May). The grounding of almost 80 IndiGo planes due to Pratt & Whitney issues; SpiceJet shrinking rapidly due to a severe cash crunch and GoAir’s collapse last May meant airlines saw their domestic flights going over 87% full.
IndiGo saw its domestic market share balloon to 61.6% this May. Tata Group accounted for 28% (Air India plus Vistara plus erstwhile AirAsia India). Cash-strapped SpiceJet saw its market share shrink to 4% – down from 5.6% this January, DGCA data shows. India’s youngest airline, Akasa, had 4.8% market share, with its growth slowed by Boeing’s inability to deliver B737 MAX at the promised pace.
Akasa topped the punctuality chart (recorded by DGCA at the four airports Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru & Hyderabad) with 85.9% of its flights operating on time this May, followed by Vistara (81.9%), erstwhile AirAsia India (74.9%), IndiGo (72.8%), Air India (68.4%), SpiceJet (60.7%) and Alliance Air (58.7%).
January-May 2024 saw 6.6 crore domestic flyers, up 4% from 6.4 crore in same period last year. “Had some more planes been flying, fares would have been lower. That would have meant more people flying. This is a complete reversal from Covid time when there were lots of planes but very people eligible to fly. Now there are not enough planes to meet the demand,” executives of multiple airlines said.

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