Friday, May 22, 2020

IndiGo, SpiceJet, AirAsia India, Vistara open bookings as GoAir unlikely to resume operations from May 25

IndiGo, SpiceJet, AirAsia India and Vistara have started taking bookings for flights starting May 25 but GoAir is yet to decide on whether it will resume flights from June 1 or earlier.

The government had announced on May 17 that domestic flight operations will remain suspended until May 31. A day later, the union civil aviation minister had said the decision to allow flights is also up to state governments.

On May 20, the civil aviation minister surprised airlines and airports by announcing that the government will allow domestic passenger flights to resume from May 25 in a calibrated manner.

It is understood that airlines, airports and all stakeholders received information regarding resumption of flights from May 25 only via the tweet and had still not received the standard operating procedure and flight schedule to be followed.

GoAir may implement a wait and watch approach and then decide on taking bookings or it may directly resume operations from June 1. However, it is unlikely that the airline will resume operations from May 25. It is important to note that the airline has already been taking bookings for flights effective June 1.

While IndiGo is the healthiest of all airlines in terms of balance sheet, for GoAir, it has come to a matter of survival.

GoAir has put substantial percentage of its employees on leave without pay program until June 1 and was the first one to announce that it has sought government's support to tide through the COVID-19 crisis.

"We have likewise been requesting the Indian banking system for financial support but they have also not yet reached a conclusion on how they should financially support the airlines despite the various advisories from the RBI," the Wadias had written to employees early this month.

As far as other airlines are concerned, all have been working overnight to get the system running and keep aircraft, crew, staff and route map in place.
22/05/20 Anu Sharma/CNBC TV18

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