MUMBAI: Credit rating agency Crisil has estimated that the Indian aviation sector, including airlines and airports, will witness revenue losses of ₹24,000–25,000 crore, as air travel remains suspended due to the national lockdown.
Airlines will be the worst-hit, contributing to more than 70% of the losses, or about ₹17,000 crore, followed by airport operators with ₹5,000-5,500 crore, and airport retailers, including retail, food and beverages and duty-free, with ₹1,700-1,800 crore, the agency said in a report.
This would reverse the trend growth of roughly 11% per annum, which the industry has seen in the past ten years, making it one of the most affected sectors of the economy, Crisil said.
The agency expects that these losses will rise if travel restrictions last longer in hubs such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata and it will take nearly two years for the industry to return to pre-pandemic levels.
“These are preliminary estimates, and aggregate losses could increase if the lockdown is extended beyond the first quarter. As and when operations resume, overall operational capacity will hover at 50-60% for the rest of the fiscal. Consequently, mergers and acquisitions of airlines, and relook at expansion plans of private and upcoming greenfield airports would be possibilities," said Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, director and practice leader, transport & logistics, Crisil Infrastructure Advisory.
The road and highway sector will see developers and toll operators incurring toll revenue losses of ₹3,450-3,700 crore during March-June, the report said. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will lose ₹2,100-2,200 crore in toll taxes during this period, which has mostly been under the lockdown.
Stakeholders will also suffer losses on account of accrued interest, increase in costs of under-construction projects, time overruns, and a rise in disputes between private sector and government authorities.
Moreover, the NHAI had planned to raise ₹80,000-85,000 crore by fiscal 2025 by monetising about 6,000 km of operational public-funded toll roads. This asset monetisation programme through toll-operate-transfer and infrastructure investment trusts will likely take a hit.
“The ramp-up in traffic, availability of labour and raw materials for construction, and expeditious dispute resolution will be the key monitorables," said Akshay Purkayastha, director of transport & logistics, Crisil Infrastructure Advisory.