Domestic air traffic slipped to a seven-year low in 2020 because of the nationwide lockdown and reduction in capacity. In calendar year 2020, domestic
flew 63 million passengers, compared with 144.1 million the previous year. In January,
flew 7.7 million passengers, which was 39 per cent lower than January 2020.
The Leisure and visiting family and relatives (VFR) segment is leading the recovery, while corporate travel remains weak. Travel portals, however, are optimistic of a revival in traffic. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, too, expects domestic traffic to reach pre-Covid levels by the first week of April.
“Leisure and VFR segments have picked up and are now at 70-80 per cent of pre-Covid levels. However, corporate bookings are still at 15-20 per cent of pre-Covid level. There's a further impact on bookings in business travel segment due to RT PCR restrictions and we have seen 10 per cent decline in volumes in metro markets. But the dip in bookings is small and we feel business will recover soon,” said Sabina Chopra, co-founder and chief operating officer (corporate travel), Yatra.com.
“The recent announcements by state governments of test requirements have contributed to increased uncertainty and, thus, impacted demand, especially on routes where the requirements are applicable. States like Maharashtra, Delhi, and Karnataka are critical hubs of India’s aviation market. From a business recovery perspective, we expect this to be a temporary blip and expect the larger recovery trend to continue. As the vaccination drive covers larger sections of the country, we will see demand bouncing back,” said Rajiv Subramanian, vice president, Cleartrip.com
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