December 2023 marked a record month for domestic air passenger traffic in India with numbers reaching more than 13.8 million according to data collated by aviation analysis platform Network Thoughts. 

The data, gathered from information published daily by the country’s Ministry of Civil Aviation, saw traffic up 6.1% on pre-COVID-19 levels from 2019 with an average of 445,645 domestic passengers per day, more than 21,000 passengers more than the average in November. 

The successful month means that domestic passenger numbers in the world’s most populous country have breached 2019 levels just ahead of schedule, as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted the milestone would be reached in 2024. 

December’s data continues a trend for India’s passenger traffic, which IATA reported had risen 10% year on year in October 2023, measured in revenue passenger-kilometres (RPKs), and marked the first time in 2023 that daily traffic reached more than 460,000 passengers. 

India’s data is also in line with the wider aviation industry’s growth throughout 2023, with IATA reporting a 31.2% year on year increase in total RPKs for October and global domestic traffic growing 4.8% over 2019 levels in the same month. 

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With traffic numbers on the rise, India’s aviation industry also saw record investment through 2023, with the country’s largest airline IndiGo placing the biggest single purchase in aviation history after signing a contract with Airbus ordering 500 A320 aircraft.