Flight bookings across India have picked up pace ahead of the festive season and green shoots can be seen in a sector that bore the severe brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic. The domestic passenger traffic in India in the first three weeks of August has improved to approximately 4.52 million as per data collated by NetworkThoughts, according to a report in Mint.
The domestic flight bookings are up significantly from previous months. For the same period in July, June and May it stood at 3.31 million, 1.91 million and 1.41 million, respectively as per the report. NetworkThoughts is an aviation analysis website that tracks the Indian aviation sector.
Advance bookings, especially for travel beyond the two-week window after bookings have picked up in the month of August. This shows that now people are more confident to travel and it can be attributed to a fall in the number of active cases coupled with the removal of travel restrictions by the states, senior executive of a budget airline based in Gurugram said as per the media report.
The official also informed that going by the current numbers, they are hopeful that the air travel would pick up during the upcoming festive season and if the current growth continues unobstructed, recovery to the pre-Covid levels could be reached by October-December.
Airlines are also boosting their liquidity to prepare themselves for any disruption that could be caused by a potential third wave of the pandemic. IndiGo and SpiceJet, two of India’s listed domestic airlines have received their respective board’s approval to raise capital with the help of institutional investors. IndiGo aims at raising Rs 3,000 crore while SpiceJet is eyeing at capital worth Rs 2,500 crore.
Domestic airlines are currently allowed to sell seats up to 72.5% of their pre-Covid capacity. The Centre recently hiked the minimum and maximum levels on airfares. Vinod Kannan, Chief Commercial Officer of Vistara said that based on current trends, their capacity and passenger carriage this month should be close to that of March 2021, as per the media report. Kannan added that barring any further shocks, the demand in the current month is expected to return to pre-Covid levels.
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