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Jet closure impacts air traffic to tier II cities

Airports such as Bhuj, Rajkot and Aurangabad have lost out the most due to the closure of Jet Airways. They reported the highest drop of 85 per cent, 55 per cent and 42 per cent in air traffic respectively, while sectors such as Mumbai-Delhi that had a considerable share of Jet flights at its peak is back to nearly the same number of flights.

After Jet Airways suspended flights on April 17, airlines have been quick to fill the slots by inducting aircraft and adding flights across their networks. There are some airports which have been hit harder than others. While Bhuj reported an 85 per cent impact, Mumbai was impacted 23 per cent.

According to data released by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Jet Airways operated four flights daily between Mumbai and Rajkot, while Bhuj and Aurangabad had two daily departures. Post April 17, Bhuj is now serviced by Alliance Air with four flights a week. Rajkot and Aurangabad similarly have a single daily flight by Air India.

While airlines have taken up most of slots vacated by Jet Airways, Spicejet on Tuesday reported the highest loads for May. “For the 50th month in a row, Spicejet has flown with the highest loads in India. In May, our passenger load factor stood at 93.9 per cent. This is a feat unparalleled in global aviation industry and a huge milestone for Spicejet,” said Shilpa Bhatia, Chief Sales and Revenue Officer, Spicejet.

Data analysed by aviation analyst Ameya Joshi shows the number passengers who departed from Rajkot in April was 12,896 down from close to 30,000 at the same time last year. “In Bhuj, the drop is steeper. It fell from 15,633 passengers in April 2018 to 2, 269,” he said.

Mr. Joshi pointed out that in the case of Bhuj, the impact is so serious that Nashik, Durgapur, Vijaynagar and Lilabari together had more passengers in April.

Kinjal Shah, vice-president and co-head, corporate sector ratings, CRA, said that while the increased airfares have supported the profitability of airlines during the fourth quarter of financial year 2018-2019 and the first quarter of the current financial year, the impact on passenger growth did not bode well for the industry.

Source: The Hindu