Aviation sector experts peg hopes on festive season
Airlines expect passenger traffic to go up to 60%-65% during the festive season of Dussehra and Diwali in October-November, the Chief Marketing Officer for SpiceJet said at the HT Tourism Conclave, while stressing that the airline and tourism industries remain the worst affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The capacity on domestic flight remains at around 45% of pre-Covid levels at the moment, Debojo Maharishi said. “As far as business is concerned, the first two to three months there was a lot of apprehension about travel, but we see that getting better with each day. We are using more flights and we are at almost 45% of our pre-Covid level. By the festive season we expect it to be close to 60-65%. In terms of goods we are doing close to 75%, I expect it to reach 80-85% very soon,” he said.
The Centre has allowed about 60% capacity utilisation on domestic routes after the resumption of flights on May 25 with strict safety norms following the two-month blanket suspension since the first lockdown was announced.
“The travel and tourism industries remain the worst impacted in this pandemic. Airlines and hotel chains across the globe are worst affected, and many have shut down or are on the verge of collapse. Our operations were also heavily hit as is evident through our Q1 results. Our operations contracted by almost 90% and revenue by almost 83%. We almost posted losses of around Rs 563 crore compared to a profit of around Rs 262 crore last year in the same period,” he added.
According to credit rating agency CRISIL, India’s airlines will face a revenue loss of Rs 1.3 lakh crore between fiscal 2020 and 2022 because of the pandemic. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airlines in the Asia-Pacific region will be the hardest hit by the health crisis, with losses expected to be around $29 billion for 2020. For India, it expected passenger demand to shrink by 49% compared to last year.
Pratik Mazumder CMO Mahindra Holidays and resorts Ltd said: “...right now we are trying to engage with our members, we have close to about 2.6-3 lakh members. The big challenge is to give them a sense of assurance. We have launched a programme called ‘travel with confidence’…we are trying to assure members of a safe stay...”
He added that there are signs of green shoots in quarter two with occupancy in states like Rajasthan and Gujarat. He said it is further expected to peak during the holidays season.