Monday, May 31, 2021

Demand has taken off for aircraft parking slots

Ahmedabad: Flight movements have drastically reduced as the number of people preferring air travel has sharply dipped due to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The wave has gradually begun receding now. But with reduced demand, a large part of the aircraft fleet of every airline tends to remain idle, pushing up parking occupancy at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad.

At any given point, at least 7-8 aircraft operating scheduled flights are seen parked at the city airport. This is over and above the state-owned, privately owned, and other non-scheduled aircraft parked here. Increased parking occupancy at SVPIA has been seen since mid-April.

“At least 50% of the fleet of each airline is lying idle. The demand has taken a major hit due to the second wave and the restrictions imposed to curb the virus spread,” said a senior official of an airline. “While corporates have imposed restrictions on travel, leisure travel has also nosedived because of a slew of territorial shutdowns, restrictions, and the protocol mandating travellers to show the negative RT-PCR report while entering the state.” The official said that often it is not viable for airlines to operate flights.

“With few flights operating, aircraft are bound to remain idle and parked,” the official explained. “While airlines tend to prefer airports in metros such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru due to the easy availability of maintenance services, aircraft operating scheduled flights are also parked at other airports.”

Sources in the aviation sector said that the situation is similar at other airports such as Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru. Earlier this year, SVPI airport operationalized an additional eight parking stands, taking the total number of aircraft parking stands to 42.

31/05/21 Times of India

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