There are a total of 24000 aircraft that were operational before this epidemic, 16000 of them have been grounded. Airlines have to spend millions of dollars in maintenance even when parking it. The industry won’t be able to get back on its feet before 2022–23. If the current situation goes on then many will lose their jobs in the airline industry/ carrying passengers around that possibly have the virus will spread it from state to state, country to country. The other point is with the extreme media attention that the virus is getting more people than imagined are staying home and afraid to travel thereby. Airline revenues globally in 2020 have incurred a staggering loss of $250 bn which is a 44% decline more than in 2019. The loss has been incurred because of the complete lockdown of the whole world owing to coronavirus.
Even, Indian aviation anticipated to bring about a faltering $3.3-3.6 bn loss in the first quarter of the following financial year. As per global aviation consultancy CAPA, the private domestic airlines in India have incurred a united loss of up to $600 million in the March quarter because of the shortened flight schedules, large-scale cancellations, and rescheduling of flights amid coronavirus pandemic. In the year 2021, the loss is continuing and the airline industry is hardly coping with this situation. The whole world is managing through unprecedented coronavirus and after a long time, it seems that the situation is coming in control. The pandemic has halted up to a certain extent. The price of airlines between India and the United Kingdom is touching an all-time high.
Ministry of Civil aviation has been informed about the issue by a government official and alerted to take appropriate action towards skyrocketing airfares. After a long journey imposed by the united kingdom on several countries, UK has some of the countries on the “red list” because of their uncontrollable number of COVID-19 cases. Finally, UK has moved India to “amber list” from “red list”. Putting India on the “amber list” bring a lot of relaxation. “Amber list” means those people who want to travel to the UK, must be properly vaccinated with both doses, and they won’t be kept under ten days quarantine in the hotel. Somehow, the airfares between these countries are skyrocketing and it is the peak season for students. Students are paying huge airfares to reach the UK for their studies.
Owing to the current surge in airfares between UK and India, a government official has informed the ministry of civil aviation to take appropriate action against the air line industry. Mr. Grant Shapps has announced through his Twitter account that “The UAE, Qatar, India, and Bahrain will be moved from the red list to the amber list. All changes come into effect Sun 8th August at 4 am,”. He is the transport secretary of the UK. The decision to lower the regulation of travel restrictions has come as a relief for a lot of people who are looking forward to traveling to the UK. The surge in airfare is happening because of three months of a complete ban of airlines. It is student season and demand for the airline has recorded very high, this eventually leads to the unprecedented growth in the airfares between India and UK.
It has been reported that the price of a one-way ticket of British Airways from Delhi to London on 26th August is around Rs3.5 lakh. It has been reported by Google travel. While other airlines’ ticket prices between these two cities are between one Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh for air India as well as Air Vistara. Mr. Sanjeev Gupta is secretary of the ministry of home affairs and he has raised concerns over unnatural hikes in the airfares and shared the screenshot of the airfare between India to the UK. It is the time when students from all over the world and especially from India look towards the UK for further study and admission. Large airlines tend to have backup aircraft, but they can’t have them everywhere. Therefore if something happens quite often an aircraft needs to be flown empty from somewhere else.
These flights often happen at short notice and aren’t known far enough in advance to sell tickets. Also if you have passengers it requires cabin crew, more ground handling, and a lot of other added extras. If you operate an empty aircraft with only pilots you don’t need any of those things. That means it can be less efficient to fly a late notice flight as a pax-flight instead of positioning. Most airline companies cut down the salary of their employees and senior management. IndiGo has actualized a top-down 5%-25% compensation cut over its workforce. The CEO of IndiGo would himself take the greatest cut of 25%. GoAir would also cut the salary of its top leadership by 50%. The huge surge in demand to travel to the UK owing to admission season has led to the sudden hike in airfares between India to the UK.
Fare of ₹ 3.95 lakh one way Delhi to London on Aug 26. No, it’s not 1st class. It’s economy on @British_Airways. @airindiain @airvistara etc. also 1.2 to 2.3 lakh. College admission time! See minimum fare on @GoogleTravel in August. Have alerted Secretary @MoCA_GoI. @JM_Scindia pic.twitter.com/uxFF8dgaLk
— Sanjeev Gupta (@sanjg2k1) August 7, 2021
As the second wave of coronavirus started and India was the most affected nation, UK has put India on the red list and barred citizens of India to travel to the UK. After a three-month-long ban, UK has put India on the amber list and huge demand to travel to the UK arises instantly. Although citizens of India are now allowed to travel to the UK, they will have to follow the home quarantine rule. They will have to stay at home or any other residing place even though they are fully vaccinated. For the time being none of the Indian vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) has been approved by the authority of the UK. On the other hand, relaxation in the travel will curb the pressure of travellers and students, as well as professionals, can now travel to the UK, they only have to get home quarantine for a week to two.
There is a limited number of flights operating between the UK and India and owing to the uncontrollable waves of coronavirus, it cant be ascertained when the travel ban imposes again. For the time being, it is a relaxing move taken by the UK home ministry to ease the restriction of travel between the UK and India. Furthermore, only 30 flights are acquainted to operate between India and UK. These flights will operate weekly. Aviation ministry of both the countries are in talk and future more flight can be added to provide more relaxation to the travellers. The airline service between India and UK will start operating and direct service will initiate from Kochi to Heathrow will start functioning from August 18. The airline industry is going through a huge loss and not only Indian airlines are witnessing huge loss but it has been reported from all the airline companies of the world.
The reasons vary, but most commonly is the coronavirus pandemic. Repositioning is the other reason which is also causing loss to the airline industry. For positioning flights, the aircraft needs to be moved to a different airport for some reason. In general to fly a schedule from there which may have been severely delayed or where the original aircraft can’t operate for some reason. The second category is tech flights. Certain changes to an aircraft require a flight check. One couldn’t tell exactly what they are but it will be dictated by the maintenance rules for the aircraft and airline. These flights quite often go out somewhere to test a few systems and then come back to the same airport. They’re not as common as the positioning of aircraft but still happen fairly regularly at large airports. In either case, both of the scenarios listed above require the flying of an empty aircraft.
But in the case of positioning flights, it is generally more efficient to fly them empty. There can be a certainty that some planes flying with zero passengers. People might ask why an airline might fly a plane empty of passengers and the reason is the plane may be needed in another city to carry passengers and the crew may be needed to work for other flights. As we know that the UK is going to remove India from the red list to the amber list on 8th august so it means more flights will operate from India to the UK. So those who have to travel to Canada can go via the UK. It is somehow possible the UK could be the new indirect route. International students in the UK have faced a lot of challenges in their studies and funding during this Covid 19 pandemic.
The second wave is self-inflicted. Most of all have deliberately ignored the COVID rules on mask, distance, and travel only if necessary. It’s unfortunate, the politics by Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and others to see India is deliberately pushed to dark ages. A travel ban is just a precaution measure and it’s not something that Indians should be infuriated about! Only if India had imposed an inter-state travel ban when only Maharashtra & Kerala were having high cases didn’t have to witness what’s happening today.