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Aviation Sector Hit Hard By COVID-19 Pandemic

Aviation Sector Hit Hard By COVID-19 Pandemic

The Coronavirus pandemic has hit the aviation sector in a major way. Most major airlines have already stopped servicing major routes while there are others that have suspended all international operations for a brief period of time.

On Tuesday, GoAir was the first low-cost carrier to suspend all its international operations till April 15. Further, the airline mentioned that passengers can “not show up” from March 19 to April 15 will continue to remain protected. It is expected to review the situation and then decide on the future course of action.

Even the nationalised carrier Air India has cancelled most of its short and medium-haul flights till until end of April. Furthermore, all Air India flights to London, Vienna, Frankfurt, and Birmingham have been cancelled from Wednesday (March 18) till March 31st. The same is true for IndiGo, which has decided to can its flights between Delhi-Istanbul, Bengaluru-Kuala Lumpur and Chennai-Kuala Lumpur starting from Wednesday till March 31. In addition to this, the Delhi-Kuala Lumpur flight of Indigo has been cancelled till April 30.

India has already announced an advisory under which starting from Wednesday evening (March 18, 12:00 GMT), there is a ban on entry of passengers coming from countries in the EU, the UK, Turkey, Malaysia until the 31st of March. All passengers returning from Middle-Eastern countries like the UAE (United Arab Emirates), Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar after March 18, 12:00 GMT will be in a mandatory 14-day quarantine as per the advisory.

While the impact of COVID-19 is not so significant in Afghanistan and the Philippines, even passengers from these two countries are banned from entry until March 31st. 

Following this advisory, the national carrier Air India has already cancelled all Europe-bound flights from Mumbai, Delhi, and Ahmedabad effective Wednesday till March 31. In addition to this there will the frequency on flights to Colombo from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai will be reduced from March 24 to April 30. There will also be a reduction in flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Chennai to Muscat and back in between March 17 to April 30.  Even the flights to Dubai will be numbered.

This move has also had an adverse impact on the staff of various airlines. GoAir has already announced a leave-without-pay programme for its employees. IndiGo too has announced a company-wide salary cut of 5 to 25 per cent. Announcing the pay cut, IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta, said that with the precipitous drop in revenues, the very survival of airline industry is now at stake. "We have to pay careful attention to our cash flow so that we do not run out of cash," Dutta added.

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