Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Indian airlines' financial stress to worsen as flight bans continue

The credit profile of most of the Indian airlines will remain stressed for now, with more and more countries expected to extend their ban on travel from India in the face of the unabated Covid-19 crisis in the country, aviation experts say.

The hopes of Indian carriers for an early revival of international flight operations fizzled out after the move on Tuesday by the UAE civil aviation authorities to further extend the ban on arrivals from India.

“While India is nowhere near seeing through this current wave of cases, infections and deaths, it's only prudent that the UAE halt flights so as not to damage their own progress on vaccinations and controlling the virus,” Saj Ahmed, chief analyst with the London-based StrategicAero Research, told Arabian Business.

On Wednesday India registered 382,315 new cases and 3,780 Covid-related fatalities amid reports of a slowdown in PCR tests administered in many states.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority announced on Tuesday the extension of the suspension of entry for travellers from India on all flights on national and foreign carriers without giving a date from which travellers would be allowed to enter again.

“It's more likely that this ban [by the UAE] will not be lifted until India turns the tide on managing the pandemic,” Ahmed said.

“This will financially wound Indian airlines which have limited flight options to redeploy capacity, while the UAE airlines still can focus on other markets like Iran, Pakistan, the GCC and beyond.

05/05/21  James Mathew/Arabian Business

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