Amritsar: Global aviation industry is currently one of the worst affected due to Coronavirus outbreak. The grounding of virtually all flights by the airlines around the world including India highlights enormity of the shock to aviation industry.
According to the website flightradar24, a global flight tracking service that provides daily real-time information about thousands of aircrafts around the world, there were around 2 lakh flights taking off daily and carrying millions of passengers all over the world during December 2019. This dropped to 1.8 lakh in January, 1.7 lakh in February and now it has fallen to nearly 69000 flights, which is almost one-third of the total flights and the decline continues.
India also restricted all its domestic and international flight operations by airlines from March 24 till March 29 that has been extended few times now till May 17, 2020. CAPA India, an aviation consultancy firm estimate combined losses of Indian airline carriers to be about $3.3-$3.6 billion. All major Indian carriers Air India, Indigo, Vistara, Spicejet, GoAir had to ground all their aircrafts and they even had to look for parking spaces at different airports in India.
According to the latest statistics released by International Air Transport Association, it is estimated that airlines around the world will lose about $252 billion. Many world leading airlines like Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines had to ground most of their aircrafts. This did not happen due to the declining air travel demand but due to the restrictions imposed by the governments to check spread of the deadly virus.
Center for Aviation (CAPA), India that provides market intelligence for the aviation and travel industry estimates that the Indian national carrier Air India will be losing Rs. 30-35 crore daily. With aircrafts parked, daily losses are accumulating into big numbers that it may get difficult for some to get back to the skies. This creates a big question on the future of many airlines.
Last month, FlyBe, Europe’s largest regional airline got bankrupt because of their financial trouble which was deepened by the virus. IATA estimates that many other airlines will follow if this situation does not return to normalcy anytime soon.
Not only the airlines, the allied sectors including aircraft manufacturers are also reeling under the harsh impact. Airbus and Boeing, world’s biggest aircraft manufactures have announced temporary suspension of their many production processes. Due to the suspension of production, cancellation of orders by airlines and with no new orders, it can create a big financial trouble for both of leading manufacturers if the crisis prolongs.
All these happenings have posed a big question mark on the financial propspects of all employees in the industry. With suspension of FlyBe, thousands of its employees went jobless. We can expect millions of people to go jobless in India and around the world. As the airlines struggle to secure loans, many of them are looking for government bailout packages. As exceptions are always there, the airlines with a good financial backup can survive this crisis.
In addition to the losses to the airlines and aircraft manufacturing industry, airports are also suffering huge losses due to income loss due cancellation of flights. In Punjab, for instance, Amritsar stands to lose its international connectivity, though temporarily, on some of its existing routes. Airlines are expected to focus on resuming the routes from bigger airports followed by Tier-2 airports like Amritsar which, before the shutdown, had daily 25-30 direct flights connectivity with international and domestic destinations.
In this bleak situation, it has appeared as a matter of great relief that the governments worldwide have started special flights for their citizens stranded in other countries. Many Indians including the NRIs have been able to return home and likewise foreigners flown back to their countries from here. As I write this piece, I don’t think normalcy in the global aviation industry is likely to return anytime soon.
About Author: Ravreet Singh is a 15-year-old blogger who has a great interest in aviation. His main focus on aviation is researching about connectivity of Amritsar, Punjab with rest of the world and writing about it. He is the youngest team member of FlyAmritsar Initiative, a public campaign for more direct flights to and from Amritsar.Disclaimer: Opinion/facts in this article are author's own and famepunjabi.in does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.