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Air passenger traffic likely to be hit by Maharashtra govt decision: Icra

The Maharashtra government's decision to make coronavirus negative report mandatory for those entering the state from four certain states is expected to impact the domestic travel demand further, ratings agency Icra said.

Domestic travel demand declined 58 per cent to 52 lakh passengers in October this year compared to 123 lakh passengers in the same month of last year.

The Maharashtra government’s decision to make coronavirus negative report mandatory for those entering the state from four certain states is expected to impact the domestic travel demand further, ratings agency Icra said on Tuesday. The varying policies of the states on capacity deployment by the airlines coupled with quarantine norms, among others, have already hit the domestic passenger traffic flow in the country, Icra said in a statement to PTI.

Despite month-on-month recovery in passenger volume since the reopening of the domestic scheduled flights in a graded manner from May 25 after a hiatus of two months, the air passenger traffic has seen a significant fall on a year-on-year basis. Domestic travel demand declined 58 per cent to 52 lakh passengers in October this year compared to 123 lakh passengers in the same month of last year, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) data for October showed. “The state-wise varying policies in terms of capacity deployment allowed by the airlines, quarantine norms, etc. have already been an hindrance to the domestic passenger traffic flow in the country.

“This will be accentuated by the recent announcement by the Maharashtra Government on mandatory COVID negative report for every passenger arriving from Delhi-NCR, Goa, Rajasthan and Gujarat, as the same will be a significant addition to the travel cost of a passenger,” said Kinjal Shah, Vice President at Icra Ltd. In its revised standard operating procedures on preventive measures to check the spread of COVID-19 in the state, issued on Monday, the Uddhav Thackeray government made it mandatory for those seeking to enter the state from Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa to carry RT-PCR negative reports amid the rising number of cases in these states.

For those flying in, the RT-PCR sample collection should have been done within 72 hours of scheduled time of landing at airports in Maharashtra, a government order said. “We could expect some slowdown in passenger traffic from these states to Maharashtra in the near term (due to the revised order),” Shah said in the statement.

The order stipulated that all domestic passengers traveling from airports in NCR Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa shall carry RT-PCR negative test reports with them before boarding and show them to the teams at the arrival airport in Maharashtra. “The Airports Authority of India is requested to check the report before allowing passengers to board the flight,” the government order said.

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