Domestic air services are likely to remain suspended beyond March 31 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to aviation consultancy CAPA. The government clearly sees heightened risks related to the coronavirus virus and is determined to take unprecedented action to slow its transmission, it said.
The Civil Aviation Ministry, on Monday, said that no domestic commercial passenger flight would be allowed to operate from March 24 midnight till March 31 midnight. The move is part of larger efforts to prevent the spreading of coronavirus infections.
"The timing of the resumption of services is entirely in the control of the government, but it will most likely be beyond March 31," CAPA said in a note. India has already banned international flights for a week from Sunday. In light of concerns about the accelerating number of coronavirus cases in the country, many states have announced a restriction on movement of people and vehicles.
For airlines, the suspension of domestic flights coincides with what can only be described as the destruction of demand in the last few days, CAPA said. With no air services, entire Indian commercial fleet of around 650 aircraft lies grounded, it added.
CAPA said that the severity of disruption which the Indian aviation industry is experiencing would have an impact that would be felt well beyond FY 2021 unless the government is able to provide quick and meaningful support. "Industry stability in the post-COVID period will also depend upon promoters of distressed airlines themselves bringing in significant funds.