Indian domestic carriers continue to see domestic travel demand rise, reporting a fifth consecutive month of increase in passenger traffic, and moving closer to pre-pandemic levels. 

Data released by India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) shows Indian carriers carried close to 9 million domestic passengers in October, about 70% higher year on year, and around 27% more than September. 


Source: Wikimedia Commons

An Air India Airbus A320neo. 

Compared to pre-pandemic 2019, however, the figure was about 27% lower. 

Flag carrier Air India saw the largest surge in passenger numbers, more than doubling the number of passengers year on year to 1.2 million. It was also the first time this year that the carrier, currently in the process of being divested by the Indian government, carried more than a million passengers in a month. 

Against 2019, Air India’s domestic passenger numbers saw a 24% drop. 

Privately-owned carriers, which include airlines such as IndiGo, Vistara and SpiceJet, carried 7.8 million domestic passengers in October. This was 64% higher year on year, but a 27% decline compared to pre-pandemic levels. 

Among the private carriers, IndiGo took the lion’s share of domestic passengers, at around 4.8 million. Go First, the low-cost carrier formerly known as GoAir, overtook — for the first time this year — SpiceJet to take the second-highest share of domestic passengers. 

The former carried 884,000 passengers, versus SpiceJet’s 810,000 passengers. 

India domestic traffic bottomed out in the second quarter of the year, as the country battled a fatal wave of coronavirus infections that saw record deaths.