The coronavirus pandemic has delivered heavy blows to the aviation industry which was already under pressure due to various issues.
As the first chills of winter arrive, it’s increasingly clear that the industry is as deep in the hole as it ever was.
The coronavirus pandemic has delivered heavy blows to the aviation industry which was already under pressure due to various issues. The sector has reported a major drop in passenger load, which has in turn impacted revenues as well. “The domestic traffic has reduced from 5,85,30,038 during March-July 2019 to 1,20,84,952 during March-July 2020… The revenue of Indian carriers has reduced from Rs 25,517 crore during April-June 2019 to Rs 3,651 crore during April-June 2020,” Hardeep Singh Puri, MoS, Civil Aviation, said in a written reply during Lok Sabha session. The government had put restrictions on flight operations in the country to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Divestment-headed Air India, which was already cash-strapped even before the start of the pandemic, also saw a total revenue decline from Rs 7,066 crore during April-June 2019 to Rs 1,531 crore during the comparable period this year. With a blow to passenger load, employment at airlines also reduced from 74,887 as on 31st March 2020 to 69,589 as on 31st July 2020. Decline was also reported in jobs at airports, ground handling and cargo operators.
Upon being asked about the steps that the ministry has undertaken to reduce the impact of the pandemic on the aviation sector, it said that “all efforts have been made to reduce the impact of the pandemic on the aviation sector.” The government has taken various measures such as allowing the resumption of domestic air services, increasing operations of the summer schedule to 60% as on 2nd September 2020 from the initial downgrade, creation of exclusive air-links or air bubbles with countries including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, Qatar, Maldives, UAE, UK and USA.
Moreover, the government also promoted private investments in existing and new airports through the PPP route, it said. As flight operations suffered, airlines were also encouraged to increase their share in air cargo traffic to help them tide over the revenue in-flow crunch.