International operations to give wings to the Indian aeronautical industry

New Delhi-Restoring regular international air operations is expected to boost India’s civil aviation industry, which is beset by the pandemic.

Regular international commercial passenger services to and from India were restarted on Sunday.

The Center has authorized more than 3,200 weekly flights from India during this year’s summer schedule which started on Sunday.

Additionally, the restart of scheduled international services brings more options and lower prices for passengers.

Industry experts say the current conjuncture could be the right time for the Indian airline industry to gain international market share.

Currently, foreign carriers fly more Indians to overseas destinations than local airlines.

“The resumption of scheduled international flights after a 2-year hiatus should provide a boost to domestic airlines that have seen an extended disruption to operations,” said Suman Chowdhury, chief analytics officer, Acuite Ratings & Research.

“Although the risks of additional waves of Covid will remain, the likelihood of the same economic activities having a severe impact, including passenger transport, is gradually decreasing, given the high vaccination coverage and increased immunity.”

Chowdhury pointed out that advance bookings for the upcoming summer season have also seen an encouraging trend driven by an expected recovery in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Lately, domestic air passenger traffic has seen a sequential recovery.

In February 2022, traffic increased by 19% compared to January 2022 due to a rapid decline in Omicron cases, although volumes are still significantly below pre-Covid levels.

“Domestic travel has grown rapidly over the past few months,” said Ashish Chhawchharia, partner and national head of restructuring services at Grant Thornton Bharat.

“As international travel resumes, a huge boost for the travel and tourism industry will be felt in the hotel, restaurant and retail sectors. In the near future, fleet size, airports and routes, maintenance, cargo, FTOs and drones will grow exponentially to meet demand.

Additionally, pent-up demand for international wanderlust is expected to keep seats full for airlines.

Moreover, even the fuel used on international routes is much cheaper than that consumed for domestic operations.

“’Go Big’ is the theme for international travel this year. The industry is seeing a strong desire for great getaways fueled by pent-up demand and limited international travel options over the past two years,” said Rajnish Kumar, Co-Founder and CPTO Group, ixigo.

“We are also seeing a trend of travelers now keen to book long-haul destinations with the reopening of international borders and the relaxation of rules around the world.”

According to ixigo, a significant increase has been seen in travel search queries for popular international destinations like Australia, Sri Lanka, the United States and the United Kingdom.

“Travel search queries from India for Australian cities like Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney have jumped 15-20% this month,” Kumar said.

In addition to airlines, other segments like airports and hospitality stand to reap the benefits of reintegration.

“After missing international summer travel for two years in a row and the country recording the lowest cases ever, passengers have shown strong interest in leisure travel over the past two months,” he said. said a spokesperson for CSMIA (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai). .

“With the upcoming resumption of international travel, we expect passenger footfall to cross pre-pandemic numbers with nearly 700 flight movements per day in the summer of 2022.”

India had banned the operation of international flights on March 23, 2020 to contain and control the spread of Covid-19.

The flight restrictions were, however, later relaxed as part of the air bubble agreement with some countries. (IANS)

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