Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Pandemic-hit airlines touch skies again: India much ahead of China, Japan

More than 142 million domestic passengers flew in India in April-August 2019. This sizable figure, however, suddenly fell to a mere 15.7 million amid the pandemic-induced lockdown in the same period of 2020.

As restrictions eased, it rose to 48.2 million during April-August 2021 and sharply bounced to 125.1 million in the corresponding period of 2022. While this is still below pre-pandemic levels, the trend of recovery has been quick.

Aircraft movement during April-August 2021 was 47 per cent less than the corresponding period in 2019. However, it was only 4.6 per cent less than 2019 in April-August 2022.

Domestic revenue of India’s airlines in August 2022 stood 13.7 per cent lower than in the same month in 2019. Airlines’ domestic revenue in Australia, Japan, and China remained 14.2 per cent, 16.4 per cent, and 37.8 per cent lower respectively during the same period, according to the International Air Transport Association.

The revival in India’s airlines is despite the dramatic rise in jet fuel prices. Jet fuel prices rose by more than 70 per cent during the first six months of 2022, marking one of the steepest increases since at least 2002. For context, the rise in jet fuel prices was much sharper than the rise in crude oil prices.

“For airlines, the increase in jet fuel prices represents a major challenge as this cost typically accounts for 20 to 25 per cent of total operational costs,” IATA said in a report.

17/10/22 Samrat Sharma/India Today

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