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MUMBAI: India's jet fuel demand is ready for takeoff as the country plans to open its doors to international tourists and establishes more air travel bubbles. Meanwhile, domestic travel has surged amid a steady decline in fresh daily coronavirus infections, with the total number of doses administered in the world's second most populous country crossing 1 billion, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics.

"There is a lot of travel optimism due to loosened restrictions, pent-up leisure demand combined with festive and marriage season in India," Shreyans Baid, South Asia oil market analyst with S&P Global Platts Analytics said.

"We expect India's Q4 kerosene/jet demand to grow by 33% over the previous quarter but that will still be some 24% below pre-pandemic levels of Q4 2019 in absence of full-fledged opening up of international travel," Baid said.

According to the latest data from India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation, or DGCA, domestic air passenger traffic jumped 70.5% sequentially in October, while that during January-October grew 25.9% year-on-year.

Indian refiners expect a higher run in the coming months on improved demand for aviation fuels as domestic airlines have started flying on international routes with the relaxation in coronavirus protocols, oil ministry officials said on 23 November.

Scheduled international flights remain suspended at least till 30 November, according to a notification DGCA last month. However, special flights, repatriation flights and flights under air bubble agreements are allowed to operate.

India currently has air bubble agreements with as many as 30 countries, which includes the likes of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Singapore, the UAE, the UK, and the US, among others.

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