Traffic volume expected grow gradually till festive season: AirAsia India

The current air passenger traffic volume is expected to gradually grow till the festive season, AirAsia India said.

The airline, which operated over 40 flights per day in the last 10-days, continues to witness demand mostly for essential travel.

The Centre has only recently allowed domestic flight services to resume.

“The traffic at the resumption of domestic flights is mostly restricted essential travel by people who have been separated from their loved ones due to the lockdown and are now travelling back home,” Ankur Garg, Chief Commercial Officer, AirAsia India, told IANS.

“In one week of operations, the customer feedback on the safety measures put in place by the airlines and airports has been very positive and as customers gain more confidence, we should see business and leisure demand to start coming back gradually,” he added.

According to Garg, the state of the pandemic and the subsequent restrictions will determine the time period it would take for the domestic traffic growth to bounce back.

“Another influencing factor would be the recovery of corporate traffic as most organisations have been badly hit by the pandemic, leading to reduction in their travel budgets,” he said.

At present, stringent screening and safety protocols have been put in place at the airports and onboard aircraft.

The mechanisms adhered to by the aviation industry stakeholders and the government have till now detected very few Covid-19 cases without any mass outbreak.

However, Garg cautioned that economic downturn will hinder growth prospects.

The Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown has dealt a massive blow to the economy as a whole. It is expected that the country’s GDP will contract during FY 2020-21.

“The traffic will continue to gradually rise from now till the festive period. While the economic downturn may have an impact on the people’s ability to spend on travel, a lot of people are now also looking forward to getting out and experiencing the world again,” he said.

“We do hope the demand to recover to some extent by the time we enter the festive season in a few months from now,” he added.

On the number of flights, Garg said that passenger feedback from the last one week of operations since resumption has been encouraging and that capacity restrictions by the authorities would be further relaxed over the next few weeks.

The Centre allowed limited passenger flights — about one-third of the summer schedule — to operate between metros and other destinations from May 25.

Passenger air services were suspended on March 25 due to the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus.