Aviation sector stares at Rs 25,000 cr revenue loss due to lockdown: Report

The losses would reverse the trend growth of 11% per annum the industry has logged over the past ten years, making it one of the most adversely affected sectors of the economy.
The extended lockdown to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, which has stalled traffic on the ground as well as in the air, is expected to heap enormous losses on infrastructure industries in both sectors, Crisil has said in a report.

According to the report by Crisil Infrastructure Advisory, the aviation industry will crash-land this fiscal with a revenue loss of Rs 24,000-25,000 crore.

Airlines will be the worst-affected, contributing more than 70% of the losses, or Rs 17,000 crore, followed by airport operators with Rs 5,000-5,500 crore, and airport retailers (including retail, food and beverages and duty-free) with Rs 1,700-1,800 crore, the infra advisory services of global analytics form said.

The losses would reverse the trend growth of 11% per annum the industry has logged over the past ten years, making it one of the most adversely affected sectors of the economy.

What's worse, Crisil said, the losses will climb if travel restrictions last longer in hubs such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata. " We expect the aviation sector will take at least 6-8 quarters to reach pre-pandemic levels," it said.

According to Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, Director and Practice Leader, Transport & Logistics, CRISIL Infrastructure Advisory, "These are preliminary estimates, and aggregate losses could increase if the lockdown is extended beyond the first quarter. As and when operations resume, overall operational capacity will hover at 50-60% for the rest of the fiscal. Consequently, mergers and acquisitions of airlines, and relook at expansion plans of private and upcoming greenfield airports would be possibilities."

With regards to the roads and highways sector, the estimates in the report suggest that it will see developers/ toll operators incurring toll revenue losses of Rs 3,450-3,700 crore during March-June.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will lose Rs 2,100-2,200 crore in toll over this period.

In addition to the loss in toll revenue, stakeholders will suffer losses on account of accrued interest, increase in costs of under-construction projects, time overruns, and a rise in disputes between the private sector and government authorities, the report said.

Moreover, the NHAI had planned to raise Rs 80,000-85,000 crore through fiscal 2025 by monetising 6,000 km of operational public-funded toll roads. This asset monetisation programme through toll-operate-transfer and infrastructure investment trusts will likely take a hit.

According to Akshay Purkayastha, Director, Transport & Logistics, CRISIL Infrastructure Advisory, "Tolling operations resumed on April 20 and construction on select projects has also restarted. Going forward, the ramp-up in traffic, availability of labour and raw materials for construction, and expeditious dispute resolution will be the key monitorable. In addition, road authorities such as the NHAI will have to step up initiatives beyond conventional avenues such as the development of way-side amenities and formation of special purpose vehicles/ joint ventures for both, financing and revenue.
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