Indian domestic airlines plan to operate more flights in 2022’s summer schedule than the last two years, with flag carrier Air India seeing the largest growth.

According to India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), domestic airlines plan to operate 25,309 weekly flights this summer, 10.1% higher than last summer’s 22,980 weekly flights and 3.7% more than 2020’s summer which had 24,409 weekly flights. India’s 2022 summer schedule is from 27 March to 29 October.

The domestic flights will cover a total of 112 airports, including three newcomers: Maharashtra’s Gondia Airport, Arunachal Pradesh’s Ziro Airport and Pondicherry Airport, DGCA data shows. These three airports are relatively remote and are generally served by just one airline.

Almost all the domestic players in India are increasing capacity as compared to last year and 2020’s pre-COVID summer schedule, DGCA says.

Air India leads the pack by adding 348 weekly flights to 2,456 weekly flights as compared to 2020’s 2,108 weekly flights, DGCA says. 

Indian conglomerate TATA bought Air India from the government in January and has vowed to invest in the flagging flag carrier and turn the business around. 

Star Air, although a very small carrier, is having the largest percentage growth at 57.5%, increasing its weekly flights to 137 from 2020’s 87, DGCA says. 

IndiGo remains the largest domestic airline with 11,130 weekly flights this summer year, a 2.2% increase from 2020’s 10,895 weekly flights.

DGCA’s data shows TruJet and SpiceJet are scaling down operations. TruJet intends to cut 19.5% to 355 weekly flights from 2020’s 441 weekly flights. 

Spicejet, which is India’s second largest domestic carrier, is dropping 0.4% of its weekly flights to 4,192 weekly flights this summer compared to 2020’s 4,209 weekly flights. 

TruJet, which is based in Hyderabad, has encountered financial problems, something that has been widely reported in the Indian media. The airline, which has downsized its fleet and only has one aircraft left flying, last month suspended its operations completely citing a need to raise funds.

Smart Aviation Asia Pacific previously reported that SpiceJet is embroiled in a lawsuit with De Havilland Aircraft of Canada, though both parties have since reached a settlement. The airline reportedly cut a third of its weekly domestic flights for the winter schedule, running from 31 October 2021 to 26 March this year.

2022’s Summer Schedule: Departures per week

Airlines 2020 2022 Growth (%)
AirAsia India 1,596 1,601 0.3
Air India 2,108 2,456 16.5
Alliance Air 928 982 5.8
Fly Big 158
Go First 2,492 2,557 2.6
IndiGo 10,895 11,130 2.2
Pawan Hans 23
SpiceJet 4,209 4,192 -0.4
Star Air 87 137 57.5
TruJet 441 355 -19.5
Vistara 1,616 1,741 7.7
Total 24,409 25,309 3.7

Source: DGCA

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