Covid Returns: Airlines clamour to reduce operational capacity

New Delhi (IANS) Resurgence of Covid infections along with re-imposition of partial travel restrictions in some major states has triggered a clamour among a section of airlines for reduction of flight capacity.

Accordingly, industry insiders contend that rising cases have severely impacted demand leading to cancellations.

Notably, the Centre till now has allowed airlines to deploy 80 per cent capacity.

The domestic sector was reopened on May 25, 2020 with a limited capacity of only 33 per cent.

Since then the operational capacity has only been increased in-consonance with rising passenger traffic.

“Covid cases have risen dramatically and loads have crashed drastically, thereby, leading to cancellations. Demand has been badly hit in multiple states especially Maharashtra,” a senior executive with a leading private airline told IANS.

“As more and more states impose Covid based entry restrictions, the situation will only worsen. It’s time that capacity is reduced. It’s impossible to fly at 80 per cent right now.”

According to a Mumbai based industry insider: “All airlines are bleeding heavily and sustaining at these levels is not viable. Many airlines are mulling pay cuts.”

“Centre might have to intervene again to impose calibrated capacity deployment to save the industry.”

In the past week from March 29 to April 4, a Crisil note cited that daily cases shot-up from 68,000 to over 1 lakh – a whopping 52 per cent increase.

Besides, cases continue to be concentrated in Maharashtra, which accounted for 55 per cent of the new cases in March 29 to April 4 week.

Consequently, the rising cases, re-imposition of travel restrictions is expected to have a major negative impact on the industry.

In addition, industry insiders said that issue will be raised to the Ministry of Civil Aviation by the concerned airlines.

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