India's domestic air traffic surged almost 16 per cent in August despite "substantial volatility" in the overall growth rate and weak economic conditions, global airlines' body IATA said today.
Global passenger traffic results for August showed "a strengthening of the healthy demand trend of the last few months", with total revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) rising 6.8 per cent compared to August last year.
Increase in capacity, or the number of airplane seats made available, was lagging compared to the year-ago period, pushing the load factor to a record high of 83.4 per cent, set in July 2011, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in its latest analysis.
"Indian domestic traffic surged 15.7 per cent in August compared to a year ago. There has been substantial volatility in growth rates in recent months but year-to-date growth of 2.8 per cent confirms that demand has been weak overall, consistent with weakening economic conditions," it said.
The capacity in the domestic sector in the country rose 8.5 per cent over August 2012 and load factor climbed 4.5 percentage points to 71.9, the IATA study said.
On international passenger traffic, it said Asia-Pacific carriers recorded an increase of 8.6 per cent compared to August 2012, "the strongest performance among the three biggest regions" though market indicators for such emerging regional markets have remained weak.
Terming August as "a positive month for passenger travel", IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler said strong demand and capacity discipline saw load factors match the previous record high of 83.4 per cent.
"The solid performance was also supported by a stabilisation of emerging market weakness and renewed confidence in Europe and North America," he said, adding that problems of high oil prices, stiff competition and regulatory hurdles remained.
"But demand growth remains a bright spot with most indications pointing towards an acceleration in the fourth quarter," Tyler said.