Friday, March 13, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak hits Indian aviation sector, hundreds of flights cancelled

New Delhi: The Indian aviation sector has been severely hit by the coronavirus outbreak. On Friday, Air India decided to cancel flights to Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Israel, South Korea and Sri Lanka till April 30, amid mounting concerns over the global health emergency that has now been classified as a "pandemic" by the World Health Organisation.

The move comes a day after the national carrier announced suspension of services to Kuwait till April 30.

In the last one month, over 600 international flights to and from India have been cancelled for varying periods. Close to 500 of these were by foreign carriers and the rest by Indian operators flying overseas.

The number of cancelled international flights is only expected to rise after India announced it will be suspending all visas, except for a few categories such as diplomatic and employment-related till April 15.

Meanwhile, the count of weekly flights cancelled by domestic airlines is more than 90, as per official data. IndiGo has cancelled maximum flights, and has even hinted at a weak quarter in view of the losses incurred.

SpiceJet's CMD Ajay Singh in a statement on Thursday said, "The aviation sector is under a lot of pressure. But this is temporary. We have been here before."
13/03/20 Poulomi Saha/India Today
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