Saturday, August 29, 2020

Ahmedabad: Fear of Covid continues to deter fliers

Ahmedabad: Even as Unlock 4.0 is soon to begin, apprehensions about travelling during the time of pandemic seem to be widely prevalent. The domestic passenger footfall at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport this July was 84% lower than in July 2019. Against a movement of 7.52 lakh passengers from the city airport in July 2019, barely 1.18 lakh passengers travelled from the city airport this July, according to data by Airports Authority of India (AAI).
Estimates by travel operators suggest that passenger footfall declined as leisure travel has taken a full blow. “The cases of Covid-19 infections have still not declined, and as a consequence, people are extremely apprehensive of travelling unless absolutely necessary. Moreover, till July, different states had non-uniform quarantine rules and there were lockdowns imposed in some parts of the country, further deterring travellers,” said Manish Sharma, secretary, Travel Agents’ Federation of India (TAFI) – Gujarat chapter.
Sharma also said that corporates and industries too have imposed travel restrictions for their employees, which also has a telling effect on travel.
One of the major reasons for a drastic fall in domestic passenger movement is also the limited frequency of flights operating out of the city airport, ever since it resumed on May 25. Only about one-third of the routine flights are operating. Sources in the airlines have also confirmed that flights are operating at 50-60% capacity on an average and some are forced to be cancelled due to inadequate passenger loads.
29/08/20 Niyati Parikh/Times of India
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