New Delhi– Credit ratings agency India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) on Monday said that the overall air passenger volumes (pax) are likely to reach 310 million by 2017-18.

The overall passenger volumes will reach 270 million by March 31, 2017. Currently, the overall passenger volumes from April-November, 2016 stood at 171 million.

Recently, data furnished by the civil aviation regulator — the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) — showed that India’s domestic air passenger traffic zoomed by 23.18 per cent in 2016 to 998.88 lakh.

“Passengers carried by domestic airlines in 2016 were 998.88 lakh as against 810.91 lakh during the previous year, registering a growth of 23.18 per cent,” the DGCA had said in its statistical analysis released on January 17, 2017.

According to the Ind-Ra, the growth in passenger volume will be driven by a reduction in price differential between air travel and rail journey, including the recently increased cancellation fees for train tickets.

The agency pointed out that the slowdown in economic growth during the first half of the current decade had minimal impact on pax growth.

“However, the 2008 global economic crisis and fuel and currency crises in FY13 had a pronounced impact on air traffic growth,” Ind-Ra said in a report.

“The gradual increase in private final consumption expenditure has been buttressing India’s pax growth since early FY14.”

The agency noted that large gateways such as Mumbai and Delhi airports and mid-market airport hubs such as Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports have displayed strong volume resilience, despite unfavourable macroeconomic trends.