Thursday, June 18, 2020

Flyers still wary, say airlines as air traffic stagnates

Hyderabad: Close to a month after domestic operations resumed across the country, air traffic to and from the city has hit a plateau — footfalls of between 8,000 and 9,000 per day — with little indication of a rise any time soon. Daily airline connections too continue to hover in the 100 to 115 range, after it started with 39 arrivals and departures on Day 1. Prior to Covid-19 outbreak, the Hyderabad airport handled 480 domestic flights and recorded a footfall of 50,000 or more per day.
Airline representatives and aviation sources say that this latest trend points to continuing apprehension among flyers. Unless absolutely necessary, people are still wary of travelling by air, despite operators stressing the various safety measures being put in place.
“Though we have opened offices now, we are getting just about one or two per cent of the our total domestic business. Only people from other states, working in the city, are travelling back home at the moment. There is some movement among businessmen but it’s very minuscule,” said Abdul Majid Faheem, chairman, Travel Agents Federation of India (of AP and Telangana). “This is usually the time when holiday packages are in great demand. But that’s come to a naught this time around,” he adds.
Speaking at a recent webinar, Union aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that India’s domestic sector is currently operating at 70% of the total 33% approved capacity and it will take time for it to reach 100%. “The demand has more or less remained the same since we re-started our services. We are hoping to be able to add some more connections in July but it all depends on quarantine and lockdown rules being imposed by various states,” said a senior official of a private airline that has been witnessing between 40% and 45% occupancy since resumption of operations.
18/06/20 Times of India
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