As the winter season approaches, travelers can breathe easy, as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has approved a robust winter flight schedule for North India commencing on October 29.
This schedule includes a staggering 23,732 flights on a weekly basis, a remarkable increase compared to the previous summer and winter schedules.
This spike amounts to 3.6 times more than the summer schedule and a staggering 8.1 times more than the previous year’s winter schedule.
IndiGo Takes the Lead
Leading the charge in the winter schedule is IndiGo, with a commendable 11,465 weekly domestic flights receiving DGCA approval.
Air India and SpiceJet are also key players in the winter schedule, with 2,367 and 2,132 weekly domestic flights respectively.
No Shortage of Go-First Flights
This winter schedule’s significant increase in the number of flights helps alleviate the shortfall caused by Go First’s suspension of services earlier in the year.
Go First had ceased its operations in May and sought insolvency proceedings. When the summer flight schedule was announced in March, Go First had received approval for 1,538 weekly flights.
In the upcoming winter schedule, IndiGo’s additional 1,654 weekly flights will contribute to compensating for the gap left by Go First.
Growth: Seasonal or Sustained?
The growth in winter flights can be assessed from two perspectives: summer vs. winter or winter 2022 vs. winter 2023.
When comparing the current summer season, it appears that the number of flights for SpiceJet and FlyBig will decline by 14%.
On the other hand, compared to the previous winter season, Akasa Air’s flights will surge by 64%, while Star Air and IndiGo will witness a growth of 64% and 61%, respectively.
Furthermore, IndiGo will experience a 30% increase in its flights. However, despite flight approvals, many airlines struggle to operate the full number of scheduled flights.
Recovering from Pandemic Impact
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the summer of 2020, airlines were permitted to operate 24,372 flights. The pandemic led to widespread flight cancellations, and services were gradually resumed.
Since then, significant changes have occurred in the Indian aviation sector, with Go First ceasing operations, Akash Air entering the market, and the privatization of Air India.
Given the current state of the aviation sector, it may take time to reach the goal of operating 500,000 domestic flights daily.