The aviation industry is headed towards its busiest three months ever with the number of passengers jumping over 25% during October-November 2009 over the year-ago period, indicating clear revival in demand for air traffic. Airlines’ executives said that while flights to metro cities saw a surge in passenger traffic, leisure travel to destinations in Goa and Kerala came as an added bonus. As per the data available with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), in November an estimated 40 lakh passengers travelled compared with 30.48 lakh in the same month last year. In October 2009, too, 40 lakh passengers had travelled on airlines compared with 32 lakh passenger in the year-ago period. This has lifted the overall passenger traffic, which has been lagging since 2008. During January-November 2009, 400 lakh passengers travelled, an increase of 5.45% over same period 2008. Airline companies said the sharp pick-up in air traffic over the past two months is due to increase in both business and leisure travel, and would allow them to improve their financial performance, as fuel cost has not swung too sharply during the past one quarter.This should bring some cheer to airline operators, who have been laden with losses, as falling demand due to the economic slowdown and rise in fuel cost over the past few years cut into margins. Sanjay Aggarwal, CEO, SpiceJet, said October and November this year were even bigger than the two months in 2007 when the economy was still growing at a fast clip. Mr Aggarwal added that if fuel prices remain stable and there are no sharp swing in currency exchange rates, SpiceJet may post profits for the fiscal ending March 2010. The spokesperson for another low-cost airline GoAir said: “It seems to be the best quarter the aviation industry has witnessed in a long time. The demand for October-December has been good and we are now looking forward to the January-March quarter 2010.”

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