Thursday, April 08, 2021

Domestic passenger traffic dips after fresh COVID-19 restrictions in states

Domestic air passenger traffic has dipped after several state governments and UTs imposed fresh restrictions due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.

While night curfew has been in place in several states since the first week of April, some states have implemented stricter norms and some have issued advisories for the public in view of the steep rise in COVID-19 cases. On April 6, senior government officials told reporters that the next four weeks are very critical with respect to the COVID-19 situation in India.

Delhi, Maharashtra, Odisha, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu are among the latest states to impose fresh restrictions and night curfew.

In Maharashtra, a night curfew is now in place since April 5 across the state from 8 pm to 7 am. On weekends, a complete lockdown (8 pm on Friday to 7 am on Monday) has also been imposed. It is important to note that Mumbai is the second busiest airport in the country after Delhi. Hence, fresh state restrictions amid a surge in cases in Maharashtra are likely to impact air traffic in the near term, industry experts said.

The domestic air passenger traffic on April 6 was over 2 lakh passengers, which was 14-15 percent lower than the average daily traffic seen in March 2021. As per ICRA, total domestic passenger traffic in March 2021 has been estimated at around 77-78 lakh passengers.

The number of flight departures on April 6 was at 2269, which was 1.3 percent lower than the average daily flight departures seen in March at 2300.

To bring context to the picture, the flight departures of April 6 was at 78 percent of the average daily traffic seen in the year 2019, which was 2900 departures. In comparison, the domestic flight departures were at 80-82 percent of the 2019 levels during April 1-5.

Similarly, domestic air passenger traffic was 62-69 percent of the average 2019 levels during April 1-5, whereas it was 53 percent of the 2019 levels on April 6.

08/04/21 Anu Sharma/CNBC TV18

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