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dussehra: Outstanding October for domestic airlines as 88 lakh fly for Dussehra and Diwali


MUMABI: The Indian airline industry had an outstanding October with Dussehra and pre-Diwali vacation drawing close to 88 lakh domestic passengers to air travel this month. In October last year, airlines had carried only around 52 lakh domestic passengers, 70% lower than the month this year. It’s not a just comparison, though, as only Dussehra fell in October last year while Diwali was in November. In October 2019, Dussehra and Diwali were celebrated in the same month and airlines carried about 1.2 crore passengers. This October then, airlines carried only 27% fewer passengers than what they did in October 2019, the last pre-Covid festive month. The domestic passenger traffic growth this October is outstanding, given that in September, airlines transported about 69 lakh fliers. In August, the number was 65 lakh. An airline official, requesting anonymity, said: “Indian domestic passenger traffic is likely to cross the 1 crore passenger per month mark by the year-end. We expect December to bring higher passenger volumes as revenge travel will pick up in the last week.” The negative aspect of the October growth was that it was “sinusoid” with weekend peaks and weekday troughs. Passenger traffic peaked from Friday through Sunday and then commenced a dip, falling deepest on Tuesdays. “For November weekends, we don’t expect similar peaks though. So it remains to be seen whether November numbers will beat October passenger traffic number,” the airline source added. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has approved over 22,000 flights for the airline winter schedule, which runs from October 31, 2021 to March 26, 2022. The 2019 winter schedule had about 23,000 flights. Last month, the government allowed airlines to operate to their full pre-Covid capacity on the domestic sector. “We expect the passenger loads to drop in November as compared to October,” the airline source said.


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