The government is planning to give airlines a ten-day notice before domestic flights resume in India. According to government sources, bookings will open ten days prior to the resumption, possibly sometime in early June. Let’s find out more about this potential plan to restart flights in India.
Time is of the essence
Government sources who spoke to Economic Times, have said that the government believes 10 days is enough for airlines to restart operations. Domestic flights will likely resume in early June, according to the sources, with no date for international flights yet. However, airlines would ideally need more time, as restarting operations is not as easy as it seems. These 10 days will set off a scramble for airlines to complete a number of essential tasks before they can return to the skies.
Airlines will need to conduct maintenance checks on their planes, many of which have been parked for weeks, to ensure their airworthiness and safety. Alongside these checks, airlines will have to plan which routes they will fly and at what frequency. This could be further complicated if the government blocks flights to certain cities due to virus concerns.
All of these steps will be driven by passenger demand. The number of planes brought into service and routes planned depends heavily on passenger bookings, which will rise in the same 10-day period. This will mean airlines will have to rely on external data for their planning and might even regularly update their schedules to reflect demand.
Airlines continue to suffer
While the 10-day timeline is short to restart operations, airlines are eagerly waiting for the day flights resume. Airlines in India have been burning through their cash reserves since the original flight ban on 25th March. In order to remain afloat, airlines have taken a number of measures, ranging from voluntary leave to not paying any salary at all.
The government also recently ordered carriers to give cash refunds for any bookings made during the lockdown period. This has added further strain on many cash-strapped airlines, such as GoAir and SpiceJet, which have taken drastic measures to survive. The government is yet to announce any bailout or support for the aviation industry.
If the government does decide to implement this 10-day plan, it could have a number of ramifications. Flight prices will likely surge after the announcement, causing sky-high fares on many routes. We could also see safety concerns, as airlines try to rapidly ensure their fleets’ airworthiness after months on the ground. While airlines will request more time, they will likely take whatever they get in these current conditions.
It is to be noted that this plan is yet to be confirmed by the government. One must not make bookings based on these possible plans. However, it might not be a bad idea considering the change fee waiver most airlines are offering. The coming weeks will offer a lot more clarity on how airlines can resume services and when passengers can return to the skies.
What do you think of the government’s possible plan? Have you been affected by the flight ban? Let us know in the comments below.