New Delhi, Oct 9: Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh Tuesday said the economic slowdown has adversely affected passenger traffic growth in the past couple of months but it would rebound.
“General slowdown is hitting the passenger traffic. There were also issues relating to high costs. When a slowdown occurs travel and hospitality industry are the first to be hit as the business and tourist travellers tend to cut on expenditure,” Ajist Singh said at the Economic Editors’ conference here.
According to Singh, the passenger traffic data during January-August 2012 has shown a flat rate of growth, but on a month-on-month basis the traffic has declined.
“The traffic has slightly slid in the past couple of month. But in the long run, it is bound to increase.”
The domestic air passenger traffic fell 3.70 percent for the fourth straight month in August, which stood at 43.69 lakh from 45.37 lakh travellers in July.,
The trend started in May during which the traffic came down 0.87 percent and stood at 54.48 lakh from 54.96 lakh in the corresponding month of 2011. June recorded a substantial fall of 3.84 percent at 51.08 lakh from 53.12 lakh in the like month of 2011.
The data released by the civil aviation ministry, however, showed the total passengers carried by all the domestic airlines in the January-August period grew by a marginal 0.50 percent at 398.21 lakh passengers from 396.31 lakh during the corresponding month of 2011.
Sectoral analysts said the negative growth rate was due to the seasonal factor.
“There is no reason for alarm. This is a lean period for air traveller not just this year but it happens every year,” Amber Dubey, partner and head-aviation at global consultancy KPMG.
Even the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that a slowing economy and high operating costs have affected the domestic passenger traffic in India which fell two percent year-on-year in August.
“Indian carriers, affected by the slowing economy and high-cost operating environment, saw domestic demand fall by two percent compared to the previous August,” IATA said in a statement.
“Capacity expanded by 0.7 percent and load factors slipped to 66.6 percent,” IATA said.