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March 2, 2024

India’s Jet Fuel Demand Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Levels in February Amid Air Travel Surge

India’s aviation industry witnessed a remarkable resurgence in February as the demand for jet fuel surged past pre-pandemic levels, driven by increased air travel activity, according to preliminary data from state-owned firms.

Aviation turbine fuel sales by three state-owned fuel retailers recorded a notable uptick, rising by 7.1 percent to reach 6,32,600 tonnes in February compared to the same period last year. This surge in demand marked a significant milestone, surpassing consumption levels from the Covid-impacted February 2022 and even slightly outpacing the figures from February 2020, just before the onset of the pandemic.

The month-on-month data revealed a 3.5 percent increase in jet fuel sales, reflecting the ongoing recovery trend in India’s aviation sector. Following the stringent lockdown measures in late March 2020, fuel sales plummeted by as much as 60 percent, severely impacting travel and business operations across the country.

While petrol consumption rebounded to pre-Covid levels in late 2021 and diesel sales followed suit in mid-2022, jet fuel demand remained subdued due to the slow resumption of international flights. However, with the resurgence of flight departures and rising passenger footfall, monthly jet fuel consumption has now exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

In addition to jet fuel, petrol and diesel sales also witnessed robust growth in February. Petrol sales surged by 7.2 percent to 2.75 million tonnes, while diesel demand saw a marginal increase of 0.4 percent to 6.55 million tonnes compared to the previous year. The winter season in northern India contributed to a tapering of air-conditioning demand, further impacting fuel consumption patterns.

Both petrol and diesel sales experienced month-on-month growth, with petrol consumption rising by 6.2 percent and diesel demand increasing by 7.2 percent compared to January figures.

Diesel remains India’s most consumed fuel, constituting nearly 40 percent of all petroleum product consumption, with the transport sector accounting for 70 percent of diesel sales.

The fluctuating trend in fuel consumption over recent months has been evident, with February petrol consumption showing a 20 percent increase over the Covid-affected levels of February 2022 and a 29.3 percent surge compared to pre-pandemic February 2020. Similarly, diesel consumption recorded a 13.6 percent growth over February 2022 and a 7.4 percent increase compared to February 2020.

Cooking gas LPG sales also demonstrated a positive trajectory, rising by 6.6 percent year-on-year in February. The month-on-month data showed a 1.4 percent increase in LPG demand, reflecting sustained growth in household energy consumption.

Rajan Shukla

Rajan Shukla

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