From the fastest growing domestic airline travel market worldwide, India now to fourth place: IATA

NEW DELHI: A Strong Rise In Airfares After Jet Airways Beginning Reducing Flights Earlier This Year, SpiceJet 's Grounding Boeing 737 Max And The Overall Economic Slowdown In India Has Made The Country Slip From The World's Fastest Growing Domestic Air Travel Market To The Fourth Place Now. Russia, The US And Japan Are Now The Three Largest Growth Markets, According To International Air Transport Association (IATA).

This March Saw Only 3.1% More Domestic Air Travelers In India Than The Same Month Last Year. In The Same Period, Domestic Air Travel Grew By 14.2% In Russia, 6.3% In US And 4.2% In Japan.

“Domestic Demand (overall Globally) Rose 4.1% In March, Which Was A Deceleration From 6.2% Growth Recorded In February That Was Driven Largely By Developments In China And India. India's Domestic Traffic Rose Just 3.1% In March, Down From February's Growth Of 8.3% And Well-off The Torrid Five-year Average Growth Pace Or Close To 20% Per Month. The Slowdown Largely Reflects The Reduction In Flight Operations Or Jet Airways - Which Stopped Flying In April - As Well As Disruptions At Mumbai Airport Owing To Construction.

This Is Perhaps The Sharpest Fall In Growth Witnessed By A Major Market. India Had 52 Straight Months Or Double Digit Growth (in Terms Of, Say July 2018 About July 2017). December 2018 Was The Last Month Of Double Digit Growth When India Had 1.3 Crore Domestic Passengers, Up 12.9% From December 2018. But The Grounding Of Boeing 737 Max And Jet Crisis Has Virtually Flat-lined The Growth Story For What Was Not So Long Back Was The World's Fastest Growing Aviation Market.

The Government Tries To Revive Demand By Facilitating Mainly Other Airlines SpiceJet , Attempts To Acquire Jet’s Planes And Airport Slots. Other Airlines Are Taking Jet's Crew Members To Operate The Additional Capacity They Are Inducting.

While Spice Jet Has Already Started Flying Jet’s B737s, Vistara Is Looking To Take Jet's B737s And B777s With Two Aisles Also For Preparing Medium Distance Flights To Places Like Europe, As The Airline Now Has Permission To Fly Abroad. The Other Tata JV, AirAsia India, Is Also Considering Jet’s B737s Induct.

Air India And AI Express Were Also Looking At Inducting Jet’s B737s And B777s. But Given The Maharaja's Poor Financial Health - Due To Which Almost 20 Of Its A320s, B777s And B787s Are On Ground For Want Of Engines - That Has Not Happened So Far. The Only Way To Reduce Airfares To Sustainable Levels For Both Airlines (without Theming Up Like Jet Or Kingfisher) And Passengers To Take To Skies Is Again By Increasing Capacity.

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