The number of flyers on domestic routes increased to 138.9 million in 2018 from 117.1 million in 2017, a growth of 18.6 per cent, according to data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday.
The figure for December was 12.6 million as compared to 11.2 million in December 2017, a growth of 12.91 per cent, according to the DGCA.
IndiGo's market share increased from 39.6 per cent in 2017 to 41.5 per cent in 2018. The budget carrier flew 57.6 million passengers domestically in 2018 as compared to 46.3 million in 2017.
Due to intense competition, the domestic market share of Air India, Jet Airways and SpiceJet fell marginally in 2018 even though their passenger count increased by 2.031 million, 1.143 million and 1.672 million, respectively.
"Despite the marginal increase in airfares and localised and seasonal issues like bank strikes and cancellations due to fog, the domestic passenger market has registered a strong YoY (year-on-year) growth of 18.6 per cent," said Aloke Bajpai, CEO and Co-founder of travel website Ixigo.
The DGCA data shows that the passenger load factor for SpiceJet was 92.7 per cent in December 2018 in comparison to 91.1 per cent in November 2018.
"We are happy to finish 2018 on a high note by registering the highest passenger load factor of 92.7 per cent in December -- a feat we accomplished every single month of the previous year," said Shilpa Bhatia, Chief Sales and Revenue Officer, SpiceJet.
Passenger load factor for IndiGo, GoAir, Jet Airways, Vistara and Air India was 88.9 per cent, 88.5 per cent, 87 per cent, 83.1 per cent and 81.2 per cent, respectively, in December 2018.
Passenger load factor is the percentage of occupied seats in a flight.
The DGCA data also shows that on-time performance (OTP) of GoAir, SpiceJet and Vistara -- on four metro airports of the country -- was 83 per cent, 77.9 per cent and 77.7 per cent, respectively, in December 2018.
Jeh Wadia, Managing Director of GoAir, told PTI, "We are extremely proud to clock the best OTP for the 4th successive month. This performance comes as a result of concerted efforts by all members of the GoAir family who have worked tirelessly to ensure that customers have an experience that is best in class. We are committed to working towards providing world-class service and performance.