By Rai Umraopati Ray
In a significant surge marking the aviation landscape in India, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has reported a remarkable increase in domestic air travel for the period of January to October 2023. According to the latest statistics by DGCA, domestic airlines carried a staggering 1254.98 lakhs passengers during this timeframe. This marks a substantial uptick from the 988.31 lakhs passengers transported during the same period in the previous year, reflecting a substantial annual growth rate of 26.98%.
The report further highlights a consistent monthly growth rate, indicating a 10.78% increase in passenger numbers from month to month. This notable growth trajectory suggests a strong and sustained demand for air travel within the country.
This surge in domestic air travel has been attributed to various factors including positive business and travel sentiments, availability of flights even to tier 2 & 3 cities, easing of all kinds of COVID-19 restrictions, and the growing confidence of passengers in air travel safety measures.
A proactive approach by the civil aviation ministry, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) as well as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has led to provide a safe environment in the sector. This has led to a significant decline in flight cancellations and flight diversions especially during the fog period, said Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia. This is despite a 22 per cent increase in the number of aircraft movements in the past two years. A number of initiatives have been taken to increase the workforce at various authorities for smooth, efficient and seamless functioning. Scindia said every year DGCA undertakes an exercise to ensure that airlines and aerodrome operators take actions to prepare themselves for fog conditions well in advance so that disruptions and services in terms of flight cancellations and diversions are minimised. Towards this end, DGCA engages with all stakeholders to check on the readiness of the required support systems on ground and the operators in terms of aircraft availability and trained crew for operations in CAT II/III conditions.
While the domestic sector has shown impressive growth, the overall air passenger traffic—both domestic and international—has demonstrated a positive trend, signifying a broader recovery in the aviation industry within the country.
Industry experts remain optimistic about the sustained growth in air travel, emphasising the importance of continued adherence to safety protocols and seamless operations to meet the rising demands of passengers.
As India’s aviation sector continues on this upward trajectory, stakeholders are expected to adapt and innovate to cater to the evolving needs of travellers while prioritising safety and convenience.
The DGCA’s data underscores a promising resurgence in India’s air travel sector, painting a hopeful picture for the future of the country’s aviation industry.