Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Could The Indian Aviation Industry Have A Speedy Recovery?

India’s aviation recovery has been sluggish for now, with domestic capacity rising slowly and international flights nascent. However, continuing growth, even with record-high daily cases, and a potential vaccine by the year-end has many excited. So, could Indian aviation have a speedy recovery?

Any speedy recovery of the Indian aviation industry is based on a robust domestic market. There are already signs that we could see this soon, with steady growth in daily passenger numbers. This growth has come even as India clocks around 90,000 COVID cases every day, the highest in the world. Other countries have cut back capacity when a spike in cases occurs. However, Indian aviation has seen no such slowing in growth.

Over 149,000 passengers took to the skies on Sunday, representing a 50% recovery to last year’s passenger figures. With strong growth during the height of the pandemic, we could see passenger numbers continue to rise if cases drop off.

In the optimistic scenario of a vaccine being available by early 2021, it is likely the domestic market will quickly recover to 2019 levels. This could mean the Indian market makes a speedy domestic recovery. However, a lot has to go right for this to happen, and international flights are a whole other story.

While domestic flights might be picking up steam, international flights are at just a fraction of pre-pandemic levels. This mainly due to border closures around the world and the potential risks of international flights. However, India has also banned all scheduled international flights, only starting a handful of travel bubbles and operating repatriation flights instead.

Without India lifting its ban on international flights and countries opening up borders, international flights will struggle to recover. The only potential path to a speedy recovery would be a widely-available vaccine, but it would still take at least a year for that to reach a majority of people. For now, a quick recovery for the international market seems unlikely.

23/09/20 Pranjal Pande/Simple Flying

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