By Rohit Vaid

New Delhi– Lower Covid transmission rates along with accelerated vaccinations drive and easing restrictions have lifted air passenger traffic.

Consequently, the industry reported healthy growth in domestic passenger numbers during August-September 2021 period supported by higher demand coming from tier-I and II cities.

“Demand has become more sustainable We are very bullish on the upcoming festive season,” Ronojoy Dutta, Wholetime Director and CEO of India’s largest airline in terms of market share told IANS.

On an average, bookings during the period rose 20 per cent year-on-year on domestic sector and 25 per cent for international flights.

At present, all international travel to and from India are allowed under the ‘Bubble Agreement’ between India and 28 other nations.

“Looking at the strong vaccination drive and a decline in active cases, revenge travel has picked up significantly and the pent-up demand is manifesting the same sentiments,” said Nishant Pitti, CEO and Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip.

“We have seen a significant growth in international and domestic bookings over the past few months, and we believe revenge travel is one of the key factors contributing to this demand.”

Besides, the uptrend is set to continue during the festive season.

“The reason for the growth in recent travel bookings is a mix of visiting friends and family as well as leisure travel,” said Aloke Bajpai, Co-founder and Group CEO, ixigo,

“Growing travel confidence has also resulted in a shift in advance purchase pattern trends.”

According to Bajpai: “Ladakh, Kashmir, Goa, Jaipur are some of the popular leisure destinations being booked for festive travel this year.”

“For international leisure travel, we have seen 15-20 per cent increase in search queries for destinations like Dubai, Maldives and Russia for the festive season.”

Furthermore, Bajpai pointed out that attractive rates are encouraging travellers to make advance bookings.

Currently, on an average, fare for Delhi-Goa one way ticket is priced at Rs 4,400 for travel in the first week of October, if booked 30 days in advance.

The same ticket booked at around 7 days prior to departure will cost Rs 7,600.

Additionally, the ongoing vaccination drive has been cited as the key propellant of this growth.

“As more and more Indians continue to get vaccinated, leisure travel is seeing strong uptake which will provide a much-needed boost to the industry,” a spokesperson told IANS.

“Several initiatives introduced by government and key stakeholders has further boosted the confidence and travellers are making informed decisions leading to an uptick in travel demand in the past several weeks.”

In addition, Suprio Banerjee, Vice President and Sector Head said: “With easing of Covid-19 infections and local restrictions and increasing pace of vaccination, leisure travel has gained pick-up swiftly after the second wave.”

“The same is visible by a healthy ramp-up in both domestic air travel (which has inched up to 6.8-6.9 million passenger traffic in September 2021) as well as pick-up in occupancy levels and ARRs (average room rent) in the hotel sector. In select markets, ARRs are now above pre-Covid levels.”

“In H1 FY2022, domestic air passenger traffic stood at 29.5 million compared to 11.1 million in H1 FY2021. However, the same continues to be 58 per cent lower vis-a-vis H1 FY2020.” (IANS)