It is no secret that aviation has been severely hit by the CoVid-19 pandemic and has been tottering back on its feet after airlines were allowed to operate domestic flights again from May 25, 2020, onwards. While there are significant claims about aviation flying high almost every day, the reality is not so great, to be honest. India used to have over 2, 500 flights a day, and now we have less than 40% of that operating daily.
I’ve been tracking the numbers as you know, whenever the government of India publishes them, and here is the update which includes the daily statistics from the days the GoI put them out in the public domain. I wrote about this last week, that Indian airlines had finally topped 1,000 flight operations after three months of operations.
There are a few things of interest here, nevermind the missing data which we are still trying to get by requesting the government for it. Some new trends have been seen in the past week.
The trend for a number of passengers per flight has picked up over 100 passengers per flight over the past week, apart for one day, which clearly seems like a lot of cancellations happened somewhere.
Secondly, we held 1000 flights a day for a week. This could be the beginning of a trend or just a flash in a pan, we don’t know yet, but there were over 1K flights operated, and that is a milestone in itself. Indian aviation used to see more than 2,500 flights a day pre-pandemic, domestic. So, we are still way less in terms of the number of flights being operated at the moment, at about 40% of the daily schedule.
Looking at this, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, which had put a cap of 45% of operations in terms of domestic flights, has now raised the cap to 60% with immediate effect, which should allow about 1,500 flights to operate in the coming days.
Over a period of time, we will need to see how things pan out, but by all means, this is going to be a marathon rather than a sprint to take travel back to the pre-COVID levels. Till then, airlines need to find the money to operate flights and stimulate demand to bring people back up in the air.
What do you think of the revival of aviation in India? How soon or late will it be before air travel demand returns?
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