Domestic air travel is in a slump. But Indian carriers have managed to find a way out — flying more international routes and cashing in on the boom in foreign travel.
The number of passengers carried on the international flights of domestic private airlines increased by 5 per cent in 2012, even as fewer passengers took domestic flights. International traffic accounted for 13.2 per cent of the total 55.35 million passengers carried by private airlines in 2012, up from 12.1 per cent in 2011.
Many private carriers made the most of this. In 2012, Jet Airways and JetLite saw a measly 0.9 per cent growth in passenger traffic on domestic flights.
This was a significant drop from the double-digit growth of the previous years. But passengers taking Jet’s international flights increased 8.5 per cent in 2012.
Low-cost carrier SpiceJet’s 40 per cent growth in international traffic last year was much higher than the 21 per cent rise in its domestic traffic. The airline, which started its international operations in the last quarter of 2010 with around 50,000 passengers that year, closed 2012 having flown more than 4 lakh passengers on its international routes.