Indian airlines incurred losses of ₹16,000 crores in the first nine months of this fiscal through March, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said. Airports lost an additional ₹3,000 crore during the period as Covid-related curbs crimped air travel.
Domestic air traffic fell to about 30 million passengers during April and December 2020 from 108 million passengers a year earlier, Puri informed the Lok Sabha. He said international traffic plunged to about 5.59 million in the same period from about 52.1 million a year earlier.
India lifted a two-month on domestic air travel on 25 May with airlines allowed to sell up to 80% of their pre-Covid capacity. A ban, however, remains on international commercial flights, which currently run through April-end. Only dedicated cargo flights and flights under bilateral air bubble pacts with select countries are allowed.
A bilateral air bubble is a mechanism to resume flights between India and other nations with preconditions during the pandemic. India has such pacts with about 27 nations including the US, UK, the UAE, Bangladesh, Canada, France, Germany, and Japan.
“These are temporary arrangements aimed at restarting international passenger services while regular international flights remain suspended due to covid-19,” Puri added.
The widespread impact of the pandemic on the civil aviation market is set to compound the woes of domestic carriers, most of which are loss-making.
(Source: Live Mint)