Srinagar, Feb 27: Domestic airlines have seen about 12 per cent drop in bookings over the past seven days as state governments have reintroduced measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Even as J&K administration reintroduced strict Covid testing system for incoming passengers at Srinagar International Airport and Jammu Airport, barring passengers traveling between Srinagar and Jammu, bookings have remained largely unaffected during the last week.
“This is mainly because families are returning to Kashmir after winter holidays. Also, Khelo India Gulmarg games have also resulted in big air traffic. Travellers from various armed forces are also making huge bookings as usual, so not much adverse impact felt on Srinagar sector”, an executive of a private airline told Ziraat Times.
However, he did not rule out a dip in bookings once the speak season subsides.
West Bengal joined Maharashtra and Karnataka in insisting on negative RT PCR tests for travellers from certain states, which has dampened sentiment. Passengers from Maharashtra and Karnataka will have to undergo seven days of home quarantine in Tamil Nadu under the state’s new rules. The Delhi government, too, is expected to insist on RT PCR tests for passengers from some states.
“Last-minute bookings are not taking place. Inbound loads have dropped to cities where RT-PCR tests have been made compulsory,” said the senior executive of a private airline. An executive of another airline said the impact is around 20 per cent. At present, around 40-50 per cent of tickets are being booked in the week before travel, compared with 20-30 per cent in pre-Covid time.
Domestic air traffic slipped to a seven-year low in 2020 because of the nationwide lockdown and reduction in capacity. In calendar year 2020, domestic airlines flew 63 million passengers, compared with 144.1 million the previous year. In January, airlines flew 7.7 million passengers, which was 39 per cent lower than January 2020.