By: Ravreet SinghAviation is one of the most Important Industry all around the World. It is not only limited to transporting passengers from one place to the other but also transporting cargo from one place to the other. It is currently one of the worst affected due to the Corona virus outbreak that has now spread all over the World. This resulted in cancellation of flights by many countries including India. The grounding of virtually all flights by airlines around the World is highlighting the enormity of the shock to aviation industries from the corona virus now emptying skies around the globe.
According to the data retrieved from website flightradar24, a global flight tracking service that provides daily real-time information about thousands of aircrafts around the world, during December 2019, there were around 2 Lakh flights taking off daily and carry millions of passengers all over the World. This dropped to 1.8 lakh in January, 1.7 lakh in February and now it has fallen to a total of approx. 67000 flights, according to the latest analysis of the data. This number is now almost one-third of the total flights and continues to come down every day.
According to 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 traffic demand but government of many countries also imposed several travel restrictions including shutting down of all domestic and international flights.
India also restricted all its domestic and international flight operations by airlines from March 24 till March 29 that has now been extended till midnight April 14, 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. 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 do not return to normal anytime soon.
Not only the airlines, it is also making harsh impact on aircraft manufacturers. Airbus and Boeing, World’s biggest aircraft manufactures has announced temporary suspension for many of their aircraft production. Due to the stop in production, cancellation of orders by airlines and with no new orders, it can create a big financial trouble for both of them.
Due to all these happenings, there is also a big question on future of all employees in the industry. With suspension of FlyBe, thousands of its employees went jobless. If this situation continues, 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 relying on government bailout for them. Currently, airlines with a good financial balance can survive this battle.
In addition to airlines, aircraft manufacturer losses, airports are also seeing huge losses due to no income in form the fees with cancellation of flights. Once the situation gets back to normal, this industry will not look the same.
For Punjab, Amritsar may temporarily lose its international connectivity on few of its existing routes. Airlines will focus on starting the routes from bigger airports followed by Tier-2 airports like Amritsar that before the shutdown was connected directly to 9 International and 9 domestic destination with about 25-30 daily flights.
Due to the cancellation of flights, many Indians are stuck abroad and overseas citizens of India and tourists are stuck in India. This is situation is similar Worldwide for many other countries. The government of different countries are arranging special relief flights so that citizens and residents can return to their homeland. By the time of article’s writing, the commencement of International flights between many countries including India seems very moderate.Ravreet Singh is a young 15-year old blogger who has a great interest in aviation. His main focus on aviation is connectivity of Amritsar, Punjab with the World. He is the youngest team member of FlyAmritsar Initiative, a public campaign for more direct flights to/from Amritsar. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org