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Air traffic breaks post COVID-19 records after Indian festival

Domestic air traffic in India reached a new high, as people headed out to native destinations for Diwali celebrations. The increase of passenger numbers broke the record after the post COVID-19 downturn to Indian aviation industry.

Over 225,000 passengers took to the skies the day before Diwali festival, making India’s domestic air traffic numbers rise up by 10%. Additionally, India’s busiest airports in Delhi and Mumbai also saw the highest footfalls as seat occupancy rose to over 70% this season, according to the Business Standard.

The latest domestic air traffic boom pushes India closer to its goal of achieving pre COVID-19 passenger numbers. India has seen a continuous recovery since domestic flights were revived at the end of May 2020. On it, India’s Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri celebrated such an elevation in a tweet.

Following the news, Vande Bharat Mission, which includes all Air India international flights, also saw a rise of passenger numbers, with nearly 7,000 returning on the day before the Diwali festival.

However, while domestic traffic is seemingly recovering well, international flights are lagging behind, since India is still banned on several scheduled international flights, with just a few air bubble countries allowing travel to India.

Festival season in India

Before the global pandemic, festival season in India (October-November) generally used to be strong for airlines, with thousands flying home to celebrate festivities. However, the pandemic caused by COVID-19 infection raised doubts whether people were ready to take to the skies during the festival season.

For instance, the festival of Dussehra did not show significant air traffic rise. However, the day before Diwali festivities, traveling passenger numbers soared.

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