Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Airlines, hotels brace for losses as travel restrictions kick in today

Nagpur: The curbs on travellers to the state from Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Goa are expected to be another setback for airlines and hospitality industry, which were yet to emerge from the losses due to Covid. Railways, which continue to run limited trains, are yet to gauge the impact. For Wednesday, only three tickets for Nagpur to Delhi were cancelled, but figures for incoming passengers from these states were not available readily.

If a passenger from Nagpur travels to any of the four states, there will be no curb on exit, but the same person on coming back to the city by any of the modes will be subject to tests or screening. The frequency of buses from these states to Nagpur and nearby is already low, said sources in road transport business

Sources in a couple of private airlines said they are bracing for reduction in passenger load from the sectors in coming days, which may lead to cancellation or rescheduling of flights.

Nagpur has direct air connectivity to Ahmedabad, Goa, and Delhi in these states.

“Majority of the airlines are still operating at half their capacity, and the improvement has only been marginal during the festive season. There has been hardly any vacation travel since reopening of airports,” said a senior official in a private airline requesting anonymity. ”Such sudden decisions by states have even earlier impacted passenger traffic on some sectors,” the source said.

A single aircraft does not fly to two destinations alone. If there is less than viable load at one of the stations then cancellations affect the entire route covering multiple stations, the source said. Airlines have also seen permanent and temporary layoffs following Covid losses.

Some labs have offered to do RT-PCRs test for Rs1,400 per passenger at the airport. As per GR, home visit charges are Rs1,600 for RT-PCR sample collection. NMC has asked labs to charges as per GR only.

Even as the state government has made Covid-19 tests mandatory for railway and bus passengers arriving from Goa, Gujarat, Delhi, and Rajasthan, no panic buttons have been pressed. Railway sources said on Tuesday only three passengers had cancelled tickets to Delhi.

25/11/20 Shishir Arya/Times of India

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