“Domestic operations were closed for about seven days. By the second half of March, we had also banned international flights. This had a cascading impact on connecting domestic flights as well,” said DGCA chief Arun Kumar.
Occupancy for low-cost carriers such as IndiGo, GoAir, and SpiceJet dropped substantially, compared to the usual 90 per cent load these airlines manage.
Sources say airlines are likely to get some relief, such as deferred parking and landing charges, a longer credit window of jet fuel, holiday on all forms of taxes (except jet fuel). The Centre is also talking to banks if soft loans can be provided to airlines to improve liquidity.
According to the latest estimates by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airlines in India are likely to suffer a revenue loss of $11.2 billion, leading to 2.9 million jobs at risk as passenger demand will fall by 47 per cent. The latest estimates from IATA indicate a worsening of the impact from the pandemic and travel restrictions in the Asia Pacific region.