Monday, March 23, 2020

India’s airlines ground around 1 in every 2 planes

The last couple of weeks have seen exponential growth of COVID-19 outbreak across the world. While India is trying its best to control the outbreak by putting restrictions, Indian airlines were one of the last amongst major countries to get hit.
Many continue to be surprised as most airlines are still operating a lot of flights across the country even when country after country and flight after flight were barred progressively over the last few weeks by the Indian government. Air India and IndiGo had the densest network in the region and with either of the countries banning flights, all airlines had to slowly start withdrawing services from the European Union, Kuwait, Qatar, Malaysia and slowly the entire Middle East. On March 19, the government came up with a directive to stop all international flights landing in India starting March 22. As of today, the last of international flights have departed and even the passengers connecting to other cities from international gateways like Delhi or Mumbai are not available anymore.
Some of the biggest airlines in the world – Delta, American Airlines and United — have resorted to unprecedented cuts. Singapore Airlines has announced that it would cut up to 96 percent of its capacity and Gulf major Emirates announced a total shutdown effective March 25, only to move it to limited operations a few hours after announcement.
There are airlines in the world which have completely ceased operations. They include Austrian, Swiss, LOT Polish, Air Baltic and more. Another lot of airlines have resorted to domestic flights only as entry barriers come up across countries. While Vistara announced it is adjusting capacity, IndiGo announced a reduction of 25 percent of its domestic capacity starting March 23.
23/03/20 Ameya Joshi/
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