Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Global airlines fly into an airpocket

New Delhi: The government’s decision to ban flyers from the UK, Turkey, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and a host of other European countries late on Monday till at least the end of this month will have a major impact on international airlines. During the course of the day, the government also banned flyers coming from Afghanistan, the Philippines and Malaysia with immediate effect till March 31.

The biggest impact of the ban will be felt by Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, commonly known as the big three West Asian carriers, and AirAsia Berhard. These three carriers fly Indians to and from their host countries as a large number of labourers from India go there for work. Now, the Indian authorities have extended the 14-day quarantine for people transiting and coming from the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait. This means that point-to-point traffic that these airlines carried from India will take a big hit.

The bigger impact, however, will come from these airlines’ home bases which act as hubs for traffic from India to the other parts of the world and back. These three carriers brought in passengers from other parts of the world into India from their hubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.

The three airlines — which a few years ago were blamed by other international airlines of cartelisation as they were weaning away traffic with competitive fares and more connectivity — had a large chunk of the international market. A bulk of this traffic is to and from India to destinations across the globe.
17/03/20 Ashwini Phadnis/Business Line
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