New Delhi– India’s domestic passenger traffic grew by 26.6 per cent in January, a global airline association said on Tuesday.

The January traffic soared 26.6 per cent, marking the 15th consecutive month of 20 per cent-plus annual growth, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in its global passenger traffic data.

“Demand is being stimulated by strong flight frequency.”

India’s domestic revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) and available seat kilometres (ASK) were the highest among major aviation markets like Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, Russia and the US.

The association’s data showed that India’s domestic RPK — which measures actual passenger traffic — rose by 26.6 per cent in January compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.

India’s domestic passenger traffic growth was followed by that of China at 23.2 per cent, Russia (15.4), the US and Japan (3.5 each( and Australia at 1.1 per cent.

Brazil reported a decline of 2 per cent in domestic passenger traffic.

India’s domestic ASK — which measures available passenger capacity — surged by 20.9 per cent in January, followed by China at 18.5 per cent and Russia (16.6).

In addition, the association said the global RPK showed the strongest increase in more than five years and rose by 9.6 per cent compared to January 2016.

The association added that the global ASK climbed by 8 per cent.

“2017 is off to a very strong start, with demand at levels not seen since 2011,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and Chief Executive, IATA.

“This is supported by the upturn in the global economic cycle and a return to a more normal environment after the terrorism and political ‘shock’ events seen in early 2016.”

The international passenger demand for January surged by 9.3 per cent compared to the year-ago period, with all regions recording year-over-year increases in demand led by the Middle East and Asia Pacific. (IANS)