Amid second COVID-19 wave, Indian airlines seek financial package from Centre

New Delhi: As the second wave of Covid-19 hit India and public movement is being restricted across states, airline companies are once again demanding financial assistance package from the central government.

In an important meeting of airline companies with the Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) on Monday, most flight operators demanded financial assistance package from the government to deal with the second Covid wave.

“Senior executives of all the airlines met with MoCA secretary yesterday and presented the precarious situation of the aviation sector and asked for financial assistance to come out with the situation, as the second wave of covid reported,” an airline’s official told ANI.

Last year, airline companies sought financial help from the government, but the government had refused.

The Covid-19 pandemic is having an enormous impact on the Indian aviation industry, affecting passenger load factor, cargo demand, airport workforce, and revenues.

In the meeting, airlines also expressed their concern about the fare cap which was imposed by the regulator.

“Strict enforcement by the DGCA of the lower fare limit fixed by the government was also discussed as there are many instances of tickets being sold at much cheaper fares,” a source said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on airline companies due to travel restrictions and a decrease in demand among travelers.

“Reducing capacity from 80 per cent to 60 per cent as bookings have fallen by as much as 50 per cent. No airline was in favour of increasing capacity from 80 per cent to 100 per cent in the pandemic,” a private airline company said.

One low-cost airline has asked the govt to acknowledge the old demand for reduction in Air Turbine Fuel (ATF) and excise tax at least during the pandemic.

The government has not yet reached any concrete decision on the said demands.