Jul 23, 2017

50% spurt in Indian flyers in two years, railways numbers down



CHENNAI: Airlines in India have registered a 50 per cent increase in the number of passengers carried over the past two years. Compared to 7 crore passengers in 2014-15, the 15 airlines in India carried 10.37 crore passengers in 2016-17, data released by Lok Sabha on Wednesday stated.
Low-cost airlines like Indigo, Air Asia and Go Air have been the carriers of this growth registering an increase of 75, 382 and 32 per cent during the period. In absolute terms, Indigo carried 1.79 crore passengers more in 16-17. The carrier accounts for 40 per cent of all passengers carried in FY17.

The increase comes at a time when Indian Railways has lost 17 crore passengers from FY14 to FY17.

Statistics also show that Indian Railways had 14.2 crore passengers in all air-conditioned classes like AC sleeper, 3-tier, executive class and AC chair car in 2016-17.

The data is contiguous with comments of Union Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha, who wrote in TOI in October 2016 that airlines have reached rail parity in terms of AC fares and passengers.

"Indian airlines now fly nearly as many passengers as Indian Railways carries in AC passenger coaches. Across most sectors, average airfares are now available at the price of 2AC or Tatkal-3AC fares or lower," he said. IR had 11 crore passengers in AC 3tier and 2tier in 2016-17.

The fare on low cost airlines rivals the fare of Premium Tatkal tickets or tickets on Suvidha trains, where the ticket fare increases with decreasing availability.

However, railway traffic managers insist that there is no solid evidence of migration of passengers from railways to airlines. "There is an overall increase in the number of travellers. The loss in passengers is mostly in the unreserved segment," said a senior railway official based in Chennai.

Interestingly, even the ailing Air India has registered a 17 per cent increase during the same period as well.

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A Morgan Stanley report showed that India's domestic air passenger traffic is behind that of only USA (71.9 crore) and China (43.6 crore), while it is higher than Japan (9.7 crore) in 2016.

The number of domestic air travellers is going to increase further with the Ministry of Civil Aviation launching the UDAAN scheme for providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports in the country.
Source - Times Of India