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India logs world's highest air passenger growth for 23rd straight month

India topped the global charts in domestic air passenger growth for the 23rd straight month in February, helped by strong demand and increased load factor, IATA said on Thursday.

In February, the country's growth in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) stood at 17 per cent.

Globally, RPK - an indicator of passenger growth - declined to 4.8 per cent during the same period. Load factor refers to occupancy level in a flight.

"India topped the domestic growth chart for the 23rd month in a row in February. Adjusting for the leap year effect, February was the 16th consecutive month in which the annual RPK growth rate exceeded 20 per cent," the global airlines' body said in a release. IATA noted that there is little sign that the surprise withdrawal of certain denomination bank notes in late 2016 has unduly affected air passenger demand.

"Airlines are scheduling a 5 per cent increase in domestic routes in 2017, along with a similar-sized increase in average flight frequencies on each route.

"Both factors will translate into time savings for passengers and will have the same stimulatory impact on demand as a cut in fares," it said.

According to IATA, for Asia-Pacific carriers, the large markets in India, China and Japan mean that domestic travel accounts for 45 per cent of the region's operations.
Russia has joined India and China among the fastest growing markets, it added.
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