23 March 2020
Shutdown of scheduled domestic airline operations in India
The Government of India’s decision to suspend all scheduled domestic airline operations with effect from midnight on Tuesday 24 March 2020, is consistent with expectations outlined in CAPA India’s report of 20 March.
In light of concerns about the accelerating number of COVID-19 cases in India, central, state and local governments have been imposing progressively stringent restrictions on the movement of people. Yesterday, India observed a nationwide 14-hour curfew. On the same day, all scheduled international services to/from India came to a halt, as did the Indian Railways.
The government clearly sees heightened risks related to the COVID-19 virus and is determined to take unprecedented action to slow its transmission. This is the right decision in the prevailing circumstances. For airlines, this suspension coincides with what can only be described as a destruction of demand in the last few days.
The timing of the resumption of services is entirely in the control of the government, but it will most likely be beyond 31 March. As a result, the entire Indian commercial fleet of around 650 aircraft lies grounded. In fact, not a single scheduled aircraft movement will take place at Indian airports over the coming days, either by an Indian or a foreign airline.
The severity of disruption which the Indian aviation industry is experiencing will have an impact that is felt well beyond FY2021, 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.
You may also be interested in our other blog posts on the impact of COVID-19 on Indian Aviation: