Monday, December 28, 2020

Aviation tries to regain lost heights but visibility still remains low

When 50% passengers book their air tickets over two weeks in advance, when one in every two booking involves a return flight, and when flights to metros like Chennai and Hyderabad regain their ranking among the top five domestic routes out of Mumbai, then it could be concluded that domestic air travel in India has regained its pre-COVID contours.

In the last week of May when domestic flights began post-lockdown, the top five most booked domestic destinations flights out of Mumbai weren’t the conventional ones like Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Goa. Data from travel companies showed that the pandemic had petered down the demand for travel to all metros, except Delhi.

In June, the top booked destination out of Mumbai was Varanasi, followed by Kolkata, Delhi, Lucknow and Patna.

“Delhi stayed in top five largely because of its role as domestic hub, allowing travellers to connect to their hometowns in the north. Kolkata did the same for northeastern travellers,’’ said an official with a low cost carrier.

Along with the debut of non-metros as popular destinations out of Mumbai, oneway flight bookings went up and advance bookings went down. “In May and June, Mumbai residents undertook travel only for emergency purposes, as evidenced by the 94% one-way trips. About 73% trips booked within two weeks of travel, and traditionally favoured destinations such as Bangalore and Goa lost their allure,’’ said a Cleartrip spokesperson. But recovery began from July onwards as the share of rounds trips and advance bookings increased.

28/12/20 Manju V/Times of India

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