Airlines see 10-12% drop in bookings as states insist on Covid-19 test

By Business standard

Domestic airlines have seen a 10-12 per cent drop in bookings over the past seven days as state governments have reintroduced measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

West Bengal joined Maharashtra and Karnataka in insisting on negative RT PCR tests for travellers from certain states, which has dampened sentiment. Passengers from Maharashtra and Karnataka will have to undergo seven days of home quarantine in Tamil Nadu under the state’s new rules. The Delhi government, too, is expected to insist on RT PCR tests for passengers from some states.

“Last-minute bookings are not taking place. Inbound loads have dropped to cities where RT-PCR tests have been made compulsory,” said the senior executive of a private airline. An executive of another airline said the impact is around 20 per cent. At present, around 40-50 per cent of tickets are being booked in the week before travel, compared with 20-30 per cent in pre-Covid time.

Sources at Mumbai airport said seat occupancy has declined from around 70-72 per cent to 60-64 per cent in last three-four days as passengers are postponing or canceling trips.

Domestic air traffic slipped to a seven-year low in 2020 because of the nationwide lockdown and reduction in capacity.

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