Air India has announced that passengers will not be charged for rescheduling their tickets and that passengers who are wanting to book tickets for travel up to December 31, 2020, can do so free of cost up till May 31, 2020. The announcement comes in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the nation. Earlier, Vistara and GoAir also announced the cancellation of international flights.
The aviation industry is entering troubled times since governments across the world have banned individuals from certain countries that have been heavily affected by the virus.
Global aviation consultancy firm CAPA on March 16 stated that if Coronavirus infections continue then by the end of May 2020, most airlines in the world will be bankrupt. The global consultancy firm added that a coordinated government and industry action was needed to avoid the catastrophe.
A statement release read, "Cash reserves are running down quickly as fleets are grounded and what flights there are, operate much less than half full. Forward bookings are far outweighed by cancellations and each time there is a new government recommendation it is to discourage flying. Demand is drying up in ways that are completely unprecedented. Normality is not yet on the horizon.
On Thursday, Low-Cost Carrier Indigo announced a pay cut for all employees in order to decrease the losses suffered by the airline. The airlines also mentioned that senior vice presidents and above would take a 20% pay cut while the salaries of the cockpit crew would be cut by 15%. At the same time, Dutta stressed that he would himself take a 25% cut in salary. Highlighting the substantial loss in revenue, he said that the very survival of the airline industry was at stake.
GoAir has announced a suspension of all international operations with immediate effect till April 15 whereas SpiceJet has announced a partial suspension of its international operations.
The government on Thursday announced that no international flight will be allowed to land in the country between March 22 and March 29. The ban will include Indian citizens who want to return to the country during the mentioned period. "No commercial aircraft shall land in India after midnight falling between March 21 and March 22 till midnight falling between March 28 and March 29. These are temporary measures being announced to contain the spread of COVID-19 virus and will be reviewed later," Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.