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Flight restart: Week 1 sees 3,370 departures, over 260,000 fliers; Mumbai-Delhi busiest

Flight restart: Week 1 sees 3,370 departures, over 260,000 fliers; Mumbai-Delhi busiest

Flight restart: Week 1 sees 3,370 departures, over 260,000 fliers; Mumbai-Delhi busiest
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By Anu Sharma  Jun 1, 2020 1:46:53 PM IST (Published)

India has completed its first week of domestic passenger flight resumption after being on the ground for two entire months. It has been a weak start for airlines and airports as expected but the first gear is at least in place.

India has completed its first week of domestic passenger flight resumption after being on the ground for two entire months. It has been a weak start for airlines and airports as expected but the first gear is at least in place.

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Airports across the country have witnessed a total of 3,370 departures between May 25 and May 31, as per the data from the civil aviation ministry.
The departures have gradually increased from 428 on May 25 to 501 departures on May 31. If we look at day-wise data then domestic aviation witnessed 445 departures on May 26, 460 departures on May 27, 494 departures on May 28, 513 departures on May 29, and 529 departures on May 30.
Passenger load factors have remained weak in the ratio of 45-50 percent, as per airlines. This has turned out to be on expected lines as airlines anticipated that initially, the demand will be driven by essential travel. In addition, mandatory institutional quarantine and home quarantine norms of various states have also proven to be dampeners for the demand.
Remember the union government has allowed only about one-third of operations to resume from May 25. In addition, important hubs like Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata have also put up restrictions on the number of flights allowed in their airports.
"Load is around 70-72 percent on flights from Mumbai between 25-31st May as limited flights were operating, hence PLF was better. So flights originating from Mumbai, especially those to Delhi, saw the highest load factor," Nishant Pitti of EaseMyTrip said.
In terms of PLF or passenger load factor, over 260,000 passengers or 263,172 passengers were handled at 3,370 departures during the first seven days of flight resumption.
There has been a gradual increase in the number of passengers showing up for flights. The air passenger traffic for departing flights has increased from 30,550 passengers on May 25 to 44,593 passengers on May 31.
If we talk about day-wise passenger data at departures then around 30,000 passengers were handled on May 26, a total of 34,336 passengers on May 27, 38,078 on May 28, 39,969 on May 29 and 45,646 on May 30.
While the situation is improving in terms of traffic, a better picture will emerge after 2-3 weeks when the pent-up travel demand will exhaust.
"Customers also have an equal responsibility to make sure that they don't travel if they are from a containment zone, do not turn up for your flight if you are not feeling well, making sure you wash your hands regularly. It takes two to tango. It takes us and the customer to make sure that we come out of this positively," Vistara chief commercial officer Vinod Kannan had told CNBC-TV18 last week.
At a CAPA India Webinar last week, AirAsia India CEO Sunil Bhaskaran said that he expects the situation to stabilize over the next 1-2 weeks in terms of confusion and chaos about state-specific rules but is prepared for a difficult scenario in terms of yield over the first two quarters on "difficult" load factors and less flights as the pent-up demand is going to sustain for another 2-3 weeks only.
As far as the risk of transmission is concerned, the Union Civil Aviation Minister wrote in an opinion piece in The Indian Express that COVID positive cases encountered in domestic operations till now are around 0.03 percent of the passengers. "This shows that safety systems are in place."
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