It’s official. India has now taken over the top spot from the US as the fastest growing aviation market in the world. Coming in March with an estimated growth of 27.4%, which according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) dwarfs the US aviation market growth of 4.1%. That’s over 6 times more than the US which comes in as the second fastest growing market in the world for those counting at home.
IATA cites the reason for such a dramatic growth lies in the fact that the “Indian domestic market is being propelled by the comparatively strong economic backdrop as well as sizeable increases in services.” With average flight frequencies within India set to increase by 11.5% year-on-year in 2016, domestic India airlines carried upwards of 23 million passengers in the first three months of 2016 compared to the 18.5 million figure during the same time period last year which means there’s been a growth of 24.03% according to the data released by the Indian aviation regulator. Also factoring in the fact that as a whole, the global domestic demand rose 3.7% in March compared to last year which is actually a slowdown from the leap year-aided 7.8% growth recorded last February.
The main driving forces behind the demand are the US and China market which are 2 of the largest markets in the world with the US accounting for 2 out of every 5 domestic passengers. Domestic capacity climbed 4.3%, and load factor retreated 0.4 percentage points to 81.6%. The Indian annual domestic revenue Passenger Kilometer growth rate has held steady in the double digits for nineteen consecutive months and counting. This combined with the extremely rapid growth in India contrasted with the slower and negative growth rate in other similarly-sized domestic markets have created a perfect confluence of factors that has crowned India as the overall growth leader in terms of seasonally adjusted domestic RPKs over the last year or so. Add to the fact that for the first time in a decade Air India has reported a modest operational profit and one can see how Indian aviation market is a rising tide that lifts all boats.
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