Fewer international flyers between Oct-Mar than projections of 10-15 mn: CAPA
There will be fewer international passengers flying between October and March than the earlier projections of 10-15 million.Aviation advisory and research practice, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) India, has forecast that during this period, international passengers would be around 8-10 million only. It has, however, maintained its estimated domestic passenger traffic numbers at 30-40 million.
The aviation advisory has also projected that the visiting friends and relatives (VFR) segment will decline by 20-30% in the second half of the current financial year as compared to the same period of last financial year (2019-20).
As of September 2020, domestic air traffic has returned to around 35% of pre-Covid levels. However, international traffic stands at only around 12% of pre-Covid volumes. According to CAPA, major reasons for this are border restrictions, limited flight options and reduced desire to travel (due to higher risk in overseas travel.)
A senior CAPA official said, “We maintain our earlier estimate that the industry will require USD4.0-4.5billion to survive and navigate this crisis, of which airlines will account for USD3.0-3.5billion. The longer this gets delayed, the more that structural risks will increase. The impact of the inability to maintain holding costs will become more apparent.”
CAPA’s report revealed that despite a steady increase in domestic traffic over the last four months, demand risks continue. “In FY2020. the market comprised approximately 205 million passengers (140 million domestic, and 65 million international) whereas CAPA India has estimated that the size of the market in FY2021 will be around 50-60 million (40-50 million domestic, and less than 10 million international),” read the report.
CAPA said that discretionary domestic travel segments, such as business, institutional, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), leisure and foreigners travelling on the domestic network accounted for an estimated 55% of the market during pre-Covid times. However, most of these segments have now evaporated and are unlikely to return until the pandemic is under better control or the deployment of a vaccine is widespread.
The report also stated that, in outbound international travel, discretionary business and leisure travel accounts for an estimated 56% of the total departures, and these segments are likely to see a limited activity. The report stated that international VFR, employment and education accounts for around 44% of traffic and may be slightly less impacted. CAPA India has estimated that the demand may be down by (up to) 70% and the international transit traffic that was already insignificant in India, will remain close to zero for the remainder of FY2020