Average number of daily flyers fall further amidst rise in covid-19 cases

For the fourth week in a row, fewer Indians took to the skies given the fresh surge in covid cases across the country.

Average number of daily fliers stood at 193,000 for the week ended 17 April, less than 232,000 in the week ended 10 April, according to a report by ICICI Securities.

In the seven days to 3 April, average fliers numbered 239,000.

“The number of fliers per departure declined to 90 from 101 in the respective weeks,” the report said, adding that rising covid cases remain an overhang on air traffic.

Daily air passengers traffic saw further dip in the last three days of the week ended 17 April. Total traffic reported on 15 April stood at 176,000, 16 April at 175,000 and 18 April at 182,000, the report added.

India has seen an unabated rise in fresh covid cases in the last few days, with daily additions touching over one lakh. About 128,013 new cases were registered in the last 24 hours, according to data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Domestic air passenger traffic growth is likely to contract 15-17% in April as the spike in covid-19 infections and fresh restrictions imposed by states are set to delay recovery in travel demand, rating agency Icra said in a report last week.

“Post resumption of airport operations from 25 May 2020, the ramp up in domestic passenger traffic had been steadily reaching 64% of previous year levels in February 2021. Considering a similar trend, domestic traffic was expected to grow at 125% in FY2022 after an estimated de-growth of 61% in FY2021,” it said.

However, the spike in covid-19 cases towards March end and early April has resulted in several state governments implementing fresh restrictions, it added.

While passengers are apprehensive about air travel, mandating negative covid-19 test reports for travel and imposing mandatory home quarantine measures are expected to adversely impact passenger traffic in April. Delays in getting covid-19 tests and subsequent delays in results due to massive numbers of fresh cases is further expected to hamper the recovery of the aviation sector.

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