Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move has led to slow down of almost all business sectors. But the domestic air travel has witnessed highest level of increase during November, 2016. During November almost 90 lakh people (89.6 lakh) traveled by air in the country. This is highest ever number in a single month. Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju in a tweet said “Allaying all growth fears, domestic passenger traffic has again clocked record growth of 22.4% YoY in the demonetisation month of November 2016.” In November 2015, 73.2 lakh people flew within the country.
However, some airlines disputing with government claims. They are of the view that the government move to allow people to buy tickets from airport counters using old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes till December 2 contributed significantly to this number. People had also made advance bookings from October to mid-January to attend marriages and festivals.
They are expecting domestic business will dip from mid-January when lean season kicks in. So, they feel the biggest challenge before them is snub the mood that it is very subdued and expense on travel. It may be recalled that after finding many who booked tickets using old notes started cancelation of their tickets, the aviation ministry had to make these tickets non-refundable as it felt that people were booking tickets to cancel them later and get refund in new notes.
However, a private airline official said airport sales did not count that much in overall sales as advance sales are healthy till mid-January due to low fares. “Like every other business post-demonetization, domestic air travel will slow down from January 10 when ongoing travel season ends. Till then most bookings (for reasons like travelling, marriages, festivals and visiting friends and relatives) had already happened at record low fares,” said a senior official.