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Photo: HT
Photo: HT

More than 50% people surveyed will wait for five to six months before flying: Amitabh Khosla, IATA

  • Air travel has taken a huge hit worldwide due to the outspread of covid-19 with travel demand expected to remain muted in the coming months

NEW DELHI : More than 50% people surveyed by aviation industry body, The International Air Transport Association (IATA) during June said that they will wait for another five to six months before flying, due to the ongoing pandemic which has claimed thousands of lives worldwide, Amitabh Khosla, IATA's country director for India, said on Thursday.

Speaking at a webinar hosted by aerospace major Boeing Corp on restoring confidence in air travel, Khosla said that 90% of the respondents surveyed by the industry body, however, will fly again in the next one year.

"The challenge is to restore confidence in air travel and confidence to plan travel. This will take time to re-build," Khosla added.

Air travel has taken a huge hit worldwide due to the outspread of covid-19 with travel demand expected to remain muted in the coming months.

Indian airlines, which resumed domestic air services from 25 May, struggled to fill seats in the last seven days of the month, even though most airlines are operating at only 20%-25% of their total capacity.

“The covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis for the aviation industry. The recovery from this crisis can happen only by restoring public confidence in the health and safety of flying," said Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, chief executive of Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), which operates New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport, at the webinar.

"The new mitigation measures introduced at airports with respect to sanitisation, cleanliness, hygiene and social distancing, as well as health screening procedures on departure and arrival have significantly reposed confidence amongst the flyers," Jaipuriar added.

According to John Hopkins university's coronavirus tracker, 9.4 million people have been affected by covid-19 infection worldwide while 482,805 people have succumbed to the virus.

India currently has 186, 514 active covid-19 cases, while 14,894 people have succumbed to the infection, according to data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

However, aviation remains as one of the safest modes of transport amidst the ongoing pandemic and passenger confidence in air travel needs to be reinforced, said Pradeep Panicker, chief executive of GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited, which operates the city's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport.

"We are partnering with airlines, Ministry of Civil Aviation, DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) and the industry to create a multi-layered approach focused on keeping passengers and airline crews healthy," said Salil Gupte, president of Boeing India.

"Having consistent, industry-recognized safety standards and protocols will be an important part of recovery as travel resumes," Gupte added.

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