Indian air travel numbers get off to a disappointing start in 2012

The number of air travelers in India grew 16.6% last year, but growth has slipped in 2012, ministry of civil aviation numbers revealed.

For the first two months of 2012, passenger numbers rose only by 9.3%.

The number of flights increased by 11.2% in the first two months of this year, compared with a 19.7% jump in the whole of 2011.

However, cargo was one area where this year has seen a growth, compared with a slippage in volumes last year. There has been a 7.5% jump in cargo handled this year compared with last year. In 2011, cargo volumes slipped by 2.4%.

Meanwhile airlines have been hit by higher costs of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), higher taxes, devaluation of the Rupee, high prime lending rates by banks etc..

The government is considering allowing 49% foreign ownership in the sector.