Monday, October 12, 2020

Reopening lifts up air traffic, number of flyers

New Delhi: With the gradual re-opening of the economy, the number of air passengers has witnessed continuous growth. The number grew by nearly 43 per cent between June and August, while aircraft movement has recorded a growth of nearly 28 per cent. 

However, there was still an average gap of nearly 76% in the movement of passengers and 64% gap in aircraft movements in August this year compared to the same month last year, domestic air traffic data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Airport Authority of India revealed.

Smaller cities like Patna, Lucknow, Kozhikode, Jaipur, Coimbatore etc. have seen larger growth in aircraft movements in last three months —from 1,148 to 1,676 in Patna, 111 to 202 in Kozhikode and from 860 to 1,288 in Lucknow between June and August.

While the government believes that domestic traffic is likely to reach pre-COVID level by the year-end, industry analysts say the recovery is only marginal.

Harsh Vardhan, aviation expert and former CEO of Vayudoot, said while the recovery is a good sign, it may take till end of 2022 for the aviation sector to return to last year’s levels. “Almost 60-70% fleet is still on the ground. I don’t see anything before 24 months when reasonable operations are stablised...There are restrictions. There is very limited international operation,” he said.

12/10/20 Kumar Vikram/New Indian Express

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