Troubled national carrier Air India hit another low Thursday with official data revealing that the flag carrier had the highest number of cancellations amongst all domestic carriers in April.
The data, released by aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), says that the airline had cancelled 5.2 percent of all its domestic flights in April.
This has come as a surprise to many as the airline was not facing any labour or financial issues in the period under review.
While the data is only indicative of domestic operations, the current stir faced by the flag carrier in its international operations is also expected to have an adverse impact on the performance in May.
Senior Air India officials declined to comment on the latest data.
Low-cost carrier IndiGo and Go Air had the least number of flight cancellations at 0.1 percent each.
The data could not have come at a worse time for the airline. The stir by pilots entered its 10th day Thursday with the impasse between and the management continuing and the carrier's losses mounting to Rs.188 crore.
Trouble started for the airline May 8 when pilot-members of the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) took mass sick leave protesting the move to provide Boeing-787 Dreamliner training to pilots from the erstwhile Indian Airlines.
The passenger load factor of the airline was even worse than that of cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines. The flag carrier's passenger load factor stood at 70.5, while that of Kingfisher Airlines stood at 77 percent. The highest passenger load factor was obtained by IndiGo at 82 percent in the period under review.
Not just cancellations, Air India also had the worst on time performance (OTP) of all the six scheduled operators in the data at less than 80 percent. While that of IndiGo stood at 86.8 percent, Jet Airways and JetLite at 86.5 percent and Go Air at 86.4 percent.
Even Kingfisher Airlines had an OTP of 81.2 percent in the period under review.
Air India also had one of the highest passenger complaint rates of 1.6 percent - after IndiGo's two percent and Go Air's three percent.
The airline had the fourth largest market share of 17.6 percent, preceded by SpiceJet at 17.7, Jet Airways at 21.4 percent and IndiGo at 23.8 percent.
The total passengers carried by all the domestic airlines in the period from January-April 2012 grew by 7.15 percent at 203.6 lakh passengers.
"Passengers carried by domestic airlines during Jan-Apr 2012 were 203.6 lakh as against 190.02 lakhs during the corresponding period of previous year thereby registering a growth of plus 7.15 percent," DGCA said in its monthly data report.
On the month-on-month basis the passengers carried grew by 8.99 percent at 50.91 lakh from 46.71 lakh carried in the previous month.