With Covid-19 ravaging the airline industry we are finally starting to see signs that flying will resume. In China and the USA there has been an increase in Domestic flying and green shoots of recovery are starting to appear around the globe. 7 weeks after all Indian airlines were grounded there are signs that ticket sales will once again start. There are reports that airlines have asked travel agents to start selling domestic tickets from the 18th May.
Green, Yellow, Red Zones
The Indian government has introduced colour coded zones which indicate the level of infection there. There are green, yellow and red zones. If an area has not seen any new infections for 2 weeks it is classed as a green zone. Yellow and red zones include major Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderbad which will be unlikely to see any flights in the near future.
Indian CAA restrictions
As we have seen worldwide, flying is unlikely to look the same as it did pre-corona virus. The Indian CAA has proposed a number of measures to keep passengers safe. They would like to introduce mandatory online check in, social distancing in airports and medical checks for passengers at airports. This could mean long waiting times at airports and an increased time spent in queues.
There question of whether the demand exists to reintroduce these flights is hard to answer. An initial spike in demand will be seen as passengers travel home to their families and to work places . In the business sector demand may well be slower. As companies and employees have become used to ‘home office’ work and meeting on online platforms, they may find it is cheaper and easier to continue working from home. It is widely accepted that in the leisure sector demand will be much slower to return. Vacations and tourism will struggle to recover this summer as families tighten their belts and restaurants and hotels remain shut.
India’s previously booming airline industry is showing the first signs of recovery but there is little doubt that getting anywhere near pre-covid levels is a very long way off.