Saturday, May 30, 2020

Headwinds galore as action returns to skies

New Delhi: "Our airports continue to function smoothly," tweeted Union Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, on Friday evening, as he proceeded to give his daily update on domestic airline operations since their resumption on May 25 in India.

Puri said, on day 5, which was May 29, till 1700 hours, India had clocked 371 flights, and a total number of 30,814 flyers had taken to the skies on these flights. These numbers were lesser than the day 4 data, according to which 38,078 passengers had flown on 494 flights.

On Monday, amid a lot of confusion over state norms for quarantine and with many states announcing delayed resumption of operations, Indian airlines took off across the country, even as many countries are yet to open up air travel.

After almost 5 days of flying now, travel websites have been able to put together some basic trends on domestic air travel in India so far.

One of India's leading online travel companies, Make My Trip, says that while Mumbai-Varanasi, Delhi-Patna and Mumbai-Delhi were the top selling sectors when bookings opened on May 21, in the last few days, bookings in the Mumbai-Imphal, Bengaluru-Guwahati, Delhi-Srinagar and Delhi-Imphal sectors have picked up.

Travel website, Paytm Travel too says they continue to witness that more flyers from metro cities are booking tickets, largely one-way. "For Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore as the origin cities, we are witnessing large numbers of bookings for destinations such as Patna, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Bagdogra, Lucknow, Ranchi among others," Abhishek Rajan, Senior Vice-President at Paytm Travel told India Today Television.

The flight aggregators say that travel between metro to non-metro routes has taken a lead over the conventional metro to metro routes. Experts explain that this is mainly owing to people either leaving metro cities to return to their homes or even escaping these metros that have emerged as COVID-19 hotspots.
30/05/20 Poulomi Saha/India Today

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